Teenage Girls Invent Smart Straw That Detects Date Rape Drugs

Three Miami high school students developed the innovative device.

Three high school girls from Miami are doing their part to help keep you safe at the bar: They've invented a straw that can detect the presence of date rape drugs in any drink.

Susana Cappello, Carolina Baigorri and Victoria Roca, who attend Gulliver Preparatory High School in Miami, won the Miami Herald’s Business Plan Challenge with their invention: It’s called the Smart Straw, and it can test alcoholic drinks for the presence of GBH and ketamine, the two most common so-called date rape drugs. It works in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and turns blue when it hits the liquid if the substances are present.

The judges of the competition called the invention “brilliant,” according the Miami Herald, which explained that the straws could be distributed by campus health clinics.

As part of their project, the young women conducted a survey at Northwestern University to get a feel for how popular such a product would be. Half of respondents said they knew someone who had been drugged at a party and 85% said they would use the straw.

But the girls are much more ambitious than simply designing a hypothetical version of the straw. They’re actually in touch with a testing kit manufacturer about producing the straw (which they want to be recyclable) according to Refinery29, and will hold a kickstarter campaign to fund the project.

“We were really passionate about this so we kept on pursuing it,” said Susana.

Susanna and her fellow inventors had to test their business presentation several times before it was good to enough to win the prestigious competition, but they never gave up. Their determination earned them the nickname “the straw ladies.”

They aren’t the first to have this clever idea though: Back in 2013, another company called DrinkSavvy designed cups that could detect the presence of date rape drugs, but the product is still in development.

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

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