New Nail Polish Detects Date Rape Drugs

New Nail Polish Detects Date Rape Drugs

College students have developed a nail polish to detect date rape drugs. Four students working from the North Carolina State University have created the nail polish in response to growing awareness and activism about sexual assaults, especially on college campuses. These young men are doing their part to protect female friends and family members who may fall victim to nefarious drugs.

The nail polish created by their company, Undercover Colors, changes color when exposed to date rape drugs such as GHB, Rohypnol and Xanax. It does not detect the drugs when consumed, which would be too late. Women can surreptitiously stir a finger in their drink and the polish will indicate whether one of these drugs has been added. Though women are told to be careful with their beverages at bars or parties, it is nearly impossible to constantly monitor a glass. Undercover Colors could be a handy tool for women who realized they set their drink down for a minute or lost track of who was around them Dipping a painted nail into the beverage could tell them if their drink is still safe to consume.

Ankesh Maden and Tasso Von Windheim are PhD students from Duke University. Stephen Gray, co-founder of Undercover Colors and team leader, and Tyler Confrey-Maloney are engineers. Confrey-Maloney describes himself as a, “hard-working, idealistic, socially-motivated engineer.” The description that could apply to all four talented men. The group says they not only want to protect women, but they want to make it harder for perpetrators of rape crimes. Knowing that the drugs can easily be detected should act as a deterrent for potential rapists. They will have no way of knowing who is wearing the special nail polish. The Undercover Colors profiles states, “Through this nail polish and similar technologies, we hope to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, we want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators.” That would be a pleasant change for millions of women.

Some may say that this is one more product that puts the onus on women to protect themselves instead of eradicating date rape at its root. However, most people agree that rape is a problem which has occurred for millennia and will not be solved quickly. The less vulnerable women are the less likely they will be victims. This is not propagating rape culture, proponents say, it is making it more difficult for drug-induced date rapes to happen. The goal of Undercover Colors is to empower women and scare potential rapists. Advocates say women must be part of that equation and use the products available to them.

Many feel that using Undercover Colors is an important step in helping young women avoid rape while still enjoying life. Still, the most effective date rape drug continues to be alcohol. Approximately one in five women will be sexually assaulted during their time on a college campus. Most of those assaults or attempted assaults will be in the first six weeks of the school year as freshmen women are experimenting with the social scene and alcohol. A paper published by the National Institute of Health estimates that 50 percent of sexual assault cases involve alcohol. Spurred by public outcry, the U.S. government, and new provisions in the Violence Against Women Act, college campuses across the country are looking for ways to educate male and female students and eliminate the rape problem on campuses. Many students are now required to take online tutorials about the dangers of alcohol and sexual assault and, importantly, how bystanders can prevent situations from escalating. Drug detecting nail polish could be one more weapon in the arsenal.

The team that invented Undercover Colors won $11,000 in a contest on campus. Now the group has made it to the semi-final round of the K50 competition. The Kairos Society recognizes innovative and impactful next generation companies and accepts entries from young inventors around the world. The group is also entered as a semifinalist in 43 North, the world’s largest business idea competition. In order to put the nail polish on shelves, and on college campuses, the four men are looking for additional public support and contributions.

Four male college students have developed a nail polish to detect date rape drugs. Women wearing the nail polish can swirl a painted nail in their beverage to discover if a drug has been added. Just the threat of easy detection should deter some would-be rapists and increase the safety of female college students across the country.

By: Rebecca Savastio

Sources:

Elite Daily

F6S

Undercover Colors

Time

Today

 

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