UK & World News

  • 26 August 2014, 20:28

Nail Polish Designed To Detect Date Rape Drugs

Students at a US university say they have found a new way to combat sexual assault: nail polish that can detect the presence of date rape drugs in drinks.

The project called "Undercover Colors" won a competition that challenges North Carolina State University students to find solution to real-life problems.

The nail polish changes colour if it comes into contact with the so-called dat -rape drugs, allowing a woman to check her drink by stirring it with her finger.

Among the most common such drugs are Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB, which are often odourless and colourless.

The four undergraduates who came up with the idea say their goal is "to reduce the overall rate of drug-facilitated sexual assault by creating a risk for potential perpetrators to get caught, shifting the fear from the victims to the perpetrators".

The Washington Post, which reported on the project, said critics of this and similar ideas note that alcohol is used more often than drugs in cases of sexual assaults.

The newspaper quoted Tara Culp-Ressler of Think Progress as saying that the nail polish could have unintended effect on women who are assaulted.

"Any college students who don't use the special polish could open themselves up to criticism for failing to do everything in their power to prevent rape," she wrote.

The students say the product is still being developed, but would eventually like to bring it to the market.