Nail Polish That Can Detect Date Rape Drugs: Good or Bad Idea?

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Four engineering students from North Carolina State who are concerned about sexual assault wanted to make a contribution to society. “In the U.S., 18% of women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime,” they posted on their new company’s Facebook page. This is about one in every five women.


Ankesh Madan, Stephen Gray, Tasso Von Windheim and Tyler Confrey-Maloney came up with the idea of creating a nail polish which could detect date rape drugs that might be dissolved in a drink. Date rape drugs include Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB.


“Our goal is to invent technologies that empower women to protect themselves from this heinous and quietly pervasive crime,” stated the students in an ABC news report.


The young men wanted to incorporate their idea into a product that women already use. Thus, a nail polish that can detect date rape drugs was invented. The nail varnish works by changing color after being dipped in the drink that contains a date rape drug.


Undercover colors is looking for funding and accepting donations to take the nail polish to the next step of being an available product to purchase.


While some applaud these innovative students, others are not so supportive.


Newsweek reported that Katie Russell from Rape Crisis England & Wales was critical, saying that the charity will not support the invention.


Though Undercover Color’s has good intentions Russell expressed that Rape Crisis would not endorse the nail polish or other similar products. She stated that it “implies that it’s the woman’s fault and assumes responsibility on her behalf, and detracts from the real issues that arise from sexual violence.”


Russell went on to say that the charity works hard to help victims realize that there was nothing they could do to stop the rape. The entire burden is on the perpetrator.


CBS News pointed out that it could also give women a false sense of security. There are constantly new drugs and formulations coming out that the nail polish may not be sensitive to test for, so a woman may not realize that she still needs to be cautious.


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