High School Girls Invent ‘Smart’ Straw That Changes Colors When It Detects Date Rape Drugs

Sexual assault is a growing problem today, as women across America and the rest of the globe continue to fear for their safety. According to Rainn.org, 1 our of every 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
According to the Department of Justice, young women are especially at risk, with females ages 16-19 being 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
Source: Rainn.org
Three students, Susana Cappello, Victoria Roca, and Carolina Biagorri, recognized the severity of this problem, especially for young women. They made it their mission to solve this tragic problem, and have come up with a brilliant solution that could help keep women safe from sexual predators.
Source: Miami Herald

The students partnered in their entrepreneurship class and created a simple tool that would alert women to potential predators. They developed this cheap, portable straw that can detect event the smallest amount of date rape drugs.

Source: Miami Herald
According to the Miami Herald, there are two strips on the end of these straws that detect even a minuscule amount of GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid), roofies (Rohypnol), and Ketamine. The team conducted research and determined that these were the most commonly used date rape drugs.

These straws, when placed in a drink with even trace amounts of drugs present, will turn blue. This early indicator can be the difference between safety and assault.

Source: Miami Herald
Classmates referred to the trio as “the straw ladies.” They won first place in the Business Plan Challenge High School Track. One judge even called their invention “brilliant” because of how easily it could be distributed and carried. 85% of respondents at Northwestern University said that they would use the straw.
The “straw ladies” recognized that the product could be easily copied, and so they looked into patenting their invention. This business sense further impressed the judges, who also encouraged the three girls to think about other applications of their product that could further their mission.
While drug tests kits do exist, the students were skeptical of how often women, especially college students, use them.
Putting the tests in straws was not the team’s first idea. They initially considered putting the tests in jewelry but pivoted to straws after receiving negative feedback from their peers. Straws are commonly used in bars, sororities, and fraternities, making them the perfect vehicle for a detection system.
In terms of next steps, the team is in talks with a drug test kit maker about potentially manufacturing the product for them. They are also proposing crowd-funding as a potential source of funding to bring this product to market.

Whether or not this product gains widespread use, its development is a perfect example of how creative problem-solving, determination, and an entrepreneurial mindset can solve some of our society’s toughest problems.

We wish Victoria, Susana, and Carolina the best of luck in their future ventures and hope that they can continue developing innovative solutions to make the world a better place.
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Source: Miami Herald


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