New drink detective pour-fect

By Marc Larocque

The standard checklist for a night out includes cash, cell phone, ID and keys, but if a new idea catches on, that list could expand to include the Drink Detective.

The credit card-sized kit is an easy-to-use test for date rape drugs, done with a drop of liquid placed in a questionable drink. Based on the color the drink turns, the user can tell if a drug has been put into it.

Although the kit is not available at a conventional store, it is available from a Huntington Beach-based company called WayPoint Medical and online at www.datedetectiveusa.com. It costs $8 and can only be used once.

“Having it is similar to a can of mace, in situations when you think it might be needed,” said Bret Hendzel, President of WayPoint Medical, who said he hopes people will become smarter about date rape as Drink Detective gains prominence. “It’s not the magic bullet and won’t test everything,” he said. “We want people to get a sense of awareness that this happens.”

The test detects the presence of gamma hydroxybuturate (GHB), Ketamine and the more than 60 drugs in the benzodiazepine group that includes Rohypnol, Valium, Xanax and Clonopin when dissolved in a drink. Security on Campus, a non-profit group dedicated to safer college campuses for students, is endorsing the Drink Detective and hopes one day it will be more accessible.

“Until it’s more popular and is sold more commonly, it’d be easy to have a spare one in your purse or wallet,” said Catherine Bath, executive director of Security on Campus. “I’d love to see schools distribute them for free like they do condoms, or sell them in the school bookstores.”

Recently, MIT bought over 1,000 Drink Detectives for students, and Popular Science gave it the Best in Personal Care Award.

“People go to a frat party and they make the different punches that are spiked regularly from what we’ve heard,” Hendzel said. “Having a Drink Detective at a fraternity or sorority for random checks can prevent this from happening.”

When a victim wonders if their drink was drugged, they have a limited opportunity to seek help before the drugs kick in and the potential rape ensues. The Drink Detective Web site says if you are not with a trusted friend, tell the bar manager, seek medical advice and call the police.

“When your drink is spiked you have a window of opportunity to realize someone has spiked your drink and get help. Often the persons that would be normally helping these people are going to be raping them,” Bath said. She also warns, “It is a good product, but alcohol is the biggest date-rape drug of all.”

Danielle Babineau, a freshman architecture major, said she would be happy to use the product as long as it was not a hassle to get.

“I think it’d probably be useful, depends on the setting, like a frat party or a club,” she said. “If it was readily available, maybe at the school store here, I would probably use it. But if it was some expensive thing I probably wouldn’t bother and just watch my drink.”

Leave a Reply