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Scientists develop fail-proof date-rape drug detector

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Hitting the bars may have just gotten a little bit safer, especially for women. A pair of Israeli scientists claim to have developed a chemical sensor that detects whether a drink has been spiked with the most common date-rape drugs, reports AFP.

Professor Fernando Patolsky and Doctor Michael Ioffe of Tel Aviv University, both chemists, say their detection system, which is still under development, works in real-time, and has 100 percent accuracy.

“You just dip it into your drink, it might actually look like a stirrer in the final production, it’s tiny, very tiny,” said Ioffe in an interview with AFP.

“And you don’t even have to hold it up to the light and the system will let you know whether there are drugs dissolved in your drink.”

The system works by sucking up a small amount of the drink and mixing it with the detection chemicals. The pair of chemists have tested the sensor on a wide variety of beverages, from alcoholic cocktails to soda and other drinks.

Right now, the system works with GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) and ketamine, which are the most prevalent date-rape drugs. Patolsky and Ioffe are reportedly working on a version that will also test for Rohypnol (aka “roofies”), another widely available drug.

“We have some very, very optimistic preliminary results,” Ioffe said. “All we need is money.”

If the pair are able to secure additional funding for development, they say the sensor could be available to the public within a year and a half.

As Brenna Cammeron in the Huffington Post reports, date-rape detector systems have been available for years, but none have the reliability that Patolsky and Ioffe say their system has. In fact, in 2002 the Drug Enforcement Administration even warned against the use of such systems.

“In cases where there are scientific advances, the bad guys get around it faster than the good guys can,” said a DEA spokeswoman in an interview with the Associated Press.

So, be careful out there, ladies. A night out on the town is still as dangerous as ever — for now, at least.

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