Towards a Safer Future: The Roofie-Detecting Glass

drinksavvy_glassAttention date rapers and sex offenders: you’re free ride is over! Thanks to a product known as DrinkSavvy, a new line of glassware, plastic cups, straws, and stirrers, the previously undetectable drug known as flunitrazepam (aka. rufies), has finally met its match! Basically, when a drink is spiked, a series of stop sign-red stripes show up on the cup’s sides, and the clear straw or stirrer turn red too, and the user knows not to drink.

That such a product is necessary is truly a sign of the times. Every year, over a million people find themselves becoming the victim of date rape drugs. And in 2010, DrinkSavvy founder Mike Abramson was one of them. As he recounted the incident:

I ordered my first drink of the night at a birthday party at a Boston club. But halfway through that first drink, it started to feel more like my 15th. One of the few things I remember after that is waking up with a massive headache and substantial nausea, feeling confused, and wondering, ‘What happened to me that I don’t remember?’”

drinksavvy_strawLuckily for Abramson, he was not injured or assaulted after consuming the drink. Without any explanations, he could only assume that he was either the intended victim or a robbery and the perpetrator backed out as the last minute. Or worse, that the drink was intended for someone else (a intended rape victim) and he just happened to consume it.

Because of this experience, Abramson made it his mission to avoid another hellish blackout and make sure similar experiences stopped happening to others. At first, this consisted of buying drug-testing strips and periodically pouring some of his drinks on one for analysis. However, he quickly realized that this was impractical and there needed to be a better way.

drinksavvySo he took his idea of merging the software with the hardware to Dr. John MacDonald, a chemistry professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who integrated a color-changing, drug-testing material into plastic and glassware. This was followed by a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo, where Abramson was able to raise $52,089 as seed capital to begin mass production.

Thanks to all this, the first batch of straws and 16-oz. plastic cups will be shipping out next month. By 2014, the company expects products to be widely commercially available. Abramson hopes the products will someday become the new norm in bars, clubs, and on college campuses, and bottles and cans with similar detection functions are in the works.

drinksavvy_cupIt is a sad time indeed when people need to get this creative in order to prevent sexually-based crimes. But inventions such as these remind us of the existence of socially-conscious individuals, and how much more powerful we are than cowardly predators who sulk in dark corners, slipping their dangerous wares to us when they think we’re not paying attention.

One can only hope that future versions of the Drinksavvy or similar products will also have some kind of detection system. Perhaps a finger printer or DNA sampler than can tell us who touched the glass, thus giving police and security an immediate list of suspects. Wouldn’t that be both cool and immensely affirming?!

And be sure to check out Abramson’s IndiGoGo promotional video, which includes some nauseating footage about drug-related sexual assaults:


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