Three Teens Created A Straw That Knows When Your Drink Has Been Drugged

06.08.17 5 months ago 3 Comments


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In a 2016 study published in Psychology of Violence, one in thirteen college students — most of them female — revealed that they had either been drugged by a spiked drink or knew someone who had. That’s a sobering stat, one that three Florida high-schoolers, Susana Cappello, Carolina Baigorri and Victoria Roca, are trying to change. The trio just invented a drinking straw that can detect GHB and Ketamine — the colorless, odorless chemicals most often associated with drug-facilitated date rape.

The straws, dubbed Smart Straws, were born out of the three young women’s longing to reduce date rape statistics. With more and more attention being paid to the sexual assault that occurs on college campuses — most notably in the case of Brock Turner — Cappello, Baigorri, and Roca decided that they’d tackle the problem in a business contest put on by The Miami Herald. Not surprisingly, they won.

The smart straw is convenient and easy to use. Unlike jewelry (the women’s first choice), they’re neither costly to produce nor cumbersome to keep handy. Grab one from a pocket or a purse, stir it into a drink, and then watch for a reaction. If the straw turns blue, the drink is unsafe; if the straw’s color remains unchanged the drink is safe (and no, the straw doesn’t alter the drink’s chemistry any, so a tested drink that hasn’t been drugged can still be sipped in a chill and responsible manner).

The best part about the invention is how simple it would be for college students — the inventors’ primary demographic — to get their hands on. University groups could provide them as part of safety initiatives. With Cappello, Baigorri, and Roca hoping to expand the types of drugs that the straw detects (and protecting its patent) there’s no telling how far this invention might go to prevent sexual assault on college campuses. And hey, if it nets the inventors some hard-earned cash in the process, that’s just more incentive for them to keep inventing products to keep people safe.

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