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Friday
Aug052011

Scientists Developing Date Rape Drug Detector

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TEL AVIV, Israel) -- A quick stir of your drink could soon reveal whether it's been spiked with date rape drugs, researchers say.

Israeli scientists say they've developed a sensor that looks like a straw or a stirrer that can detect two of the most commonly used date rape drugs with 100 percent accuracy.

"It samples a very small volume of the drink and mixes it with a testing solution," said Fernando Patolsky, chemistry professor at Tel Aviv University and co-creator of the device. "That causes a chemical reaction that makes the solution cloudy or colored, depending on the drug."

The reaction then turns on a tiny red light, alerting users in even the dingiest bars to ditch the drink.

Patolsky said the device should cost less than a drink and could be used multiple times until it reacts with a drug. It currently detects GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and ketamine. But the team hopes to add Rohypnal -- "roofies" -- to the list within the year.

The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that one in six women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, with 73 percent of victims knowing their assailants.

But the use of GHB, ketamine and Rohypnol -- powerful sedatives that are odorless, colorless and tasteless -- is actually very low, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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