Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Chemistry => Topic started by: river-roller on 07/07/2011 18:16:32

Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: river-roller on 07/07/2011 18:16:32
Hi everyone, I was wondering if it wouldn't be possible to add a chemical to all drinks that will change colour if another dangerous substance has been added to it.

So for example if someone tried to use a date rape drug the beer or wine would change colour.

it could be something more in the area of biotechnology, but I thought I would ask in the chemistry area.

Thanks

R.R
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: imatfaal on 07/07/2011 18:31:27
R-R whilst date rape is a terrible crime - we must also keep in mind the huge numbers of people drinking in pubs/bars that have bought their own drinks and do not want any adulteration with spurious chemicals. 

Techocratic solutions are not the answer - the solution lies in social and cultural awareness and acknowledgement of a responsibility for ones fellow citizens
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: river-roller on 07/07/2011 18:34:42
R-R whilst date rape is a terrible crime - we must also keep in mind the huge numbers of people drinking in pubs/bars that have bought their own drinks and do not want any adulteration with spurious chemicals. 

Techocratic solutions are not the answer - the solution lies in social and cultural awareness and acknowledgement of a responsibility for ones fellow citizens

Why would the chemicals be suprious? just talking about adding a harmless liquid that will change colour if a foreign substance is added, to a drink. 
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: CliffordK on 07/07/2011 20:29:55
The best thing would be to leave the ETHANOL out of the drink.

The use of Rohypnol is relatively rare, although still unacceptably high.  Notes indicate that it may be involved in about 1% of date rapes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flunitrazepam

Ethanol is likely involved in virtually all of the date rapes.

I would think that one could create a test strip for Rohypnol, or other similar drugs, somewhat like litmus paper, or a pregnancy test.  However, it would likely cost as much as the drink, and would only be effective when actually used.
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: Airthumbs on 07/07/2011 23:16:25
Having had my drink spiked I would be all in favor of something that would test whether or not there was something in your drink that is not supposed to be there.  Fortunately for me I just ran around the dancefloor all night in circles waving my hands in the air for about an hour!  I think I was relatively lucky given that some very sick people use drugs for such disgusting purposes such as rape!  [:(!]

Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: CliffordK on 08/07/2011 06:41:38
You know, there was a discussion earlier about making electronic sniffers.  Perhaps one could make a mini-IR scanner which would be effective with either liquid, or perhaps vapor from the drinks.

It would be most effective if you knew exactly what was supposed to be in the drink, especially as IR would have some large peaks from water and alcohol.  But, perhaps it could pick up a select list of very specific drugs such as Rohypnol.

Something small enough to go into a key fob?  Or a new I-Phone App?  Should I call Apple?

The problem again is would you use it religiously?  And those that would use it religiously...  would they just appear neurotic?  Maybe a sniffer app would be able to detect something like Rohypnol without needing an overt effort.  It is ok if it blasts the alarm if it is detected anywhere in the bar.
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: Don_1 on 11/07/2011 12:51:44
Your idea certainly has merit, but I can see pitfalls. Many of the alcopops on sale today come in a wide range of colours, so a colour indicator might not be the answer. There are also clear and cloudy drinks, making a substance which turns milky with the addition of something such as Rohypnol, not very reliable. A 'sniffer' attached to a key ring would have to be used before each and every sip. As Clifford said "...would you use it religiously?  And those that would use it religiously...  would they just appear neurotic?" Or might it make you neurotic?

Of course you must also consider that some devious undesirable might just slip in an extra measure of Vodka, Gin or whatever. That could be just as bad and would not be detectable.

Then there is the fact that adding still more chemicals to those we already consume in our food and drink, might be objected to by many.

Giving a sense of security, might lead to complacency.

In the end, I have to agree with Imatfaal, the solution lies in our attitudes.
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: RD on 11/07/2011 16:13:00
... vapor...

Vapour you say, now there's an idea ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_without_liquid
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: Bored chemist on 11/07/2011 19:43:35
When all you good people have finished making the clever gadgets to test the drinks, some bad people will come up with new drugs that your tests don't spot.
The sensible thing is to keep an eye on your drink.
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: SeanB on 11/07/2011 19:49:08
As well only drink if you have opened the bottle, and never put it down until empty. Happens way too often.
Title: Could it be possible to add a chemical to drinks that would prevent date rape?
Post by: CliffordK on 11/07/2011 21:23:03
As well only drink if you have opened the bottle, and never put it down until empty. Happens way too often.

That may be fine for beer being consumed from the bottle.  But what about wine?  Mixed spirits?  Beer on Tap?

Bottle caps can be removed and resealed to look virtually untampered with.

Somehow I was imagining people being drugged in bars, but probably a lot of it happens with a candle lit dinner in an apartment.  It would be impossible to keep track of glasses and drinks 100% of the time.

Alcohol is apparently chosen as a delivery medium for drugs, perhaps in part because the alcohol itself lowers defences and inhibitions, and in part because it masks flavors.  But, nothing precludes drugs being delivered with foods or other modes of delivery.