These teen girls invented a straw that detects date rape drugs

Some one in five women (otherstudies suggest more) will experience sexual assault in her lifetime, and according to one Department of Justice report, 4.2 percent of victims receive date rape drugs. To combat this horrifyingly common crime, three high school students from Miami have invented drug-detecting straws.

Victoria Roca, Susana Cappello, and Carolina Baigorri came up with the idea after Cappello heard about students being drugged at her sister's college. They also learned through research that date rape drugs are sometimes used by sex traffickers, Roca told Inside Edition.

"My friends and I knew we needed to come up with a simple solution to test for drugs," Cappello told A Plus. "I remember my dad always says 'the best ideas are the ideas that help people,' so we just thought of a simple, easy, inexpensive solution—Smart Straws."

Their school's business plan competition rejected the idea, but they didn't give up. Instead, they entered a bigger contest—the 300-person Miami Herald Business Plan Competition—and won.

Their straws turn blue at the tip when dipped in a drink that contains Rohypnol, gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), or ketamine—the three most common drugs that rapists drop in victims' drinks. They're currently working on getting a patent and plan to Crowdfund soon. Eventually, they hope colleges, clubs, bars, and restaurants will give out the straws.

"Rapes assisted by drugs or alcohol are all too common. We just want to give any gender a simple tool to protect themselves," Capello told A Plus.

With the same mission in mind, a group of North Carolina State University students began developing nail polish that changes color when dipped in a drink containing date rape drugs a few years ago. After raising $5.5 million, they plan to release it this year.

Of course, the responsibility to prevent rape is on those who could commit it—not those who could be victims. Straws and nail polish won't address the root of the problem, which is that rapists are drugging people in the first place. Educating people about consent is critical to preventing sexual assault. But while that important work is in progress, technologies like these can offer women more control over their and their friends' safety.

Watch the video, here.

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