Drug Rape: A New Twist (And It Isn’t Lemon)

If it’s up to a company called DrinkSavvy, that straw in your mixed drink – and the plastic cup that holds it – may prevent future incidences of drug rape or date rape.

Here’s a typical “drug rape/date rape” scenario. An attractive woman – or man – is in a bar or nightclub. They could be on a date with someone, or have just met someone. Unbeknownst to that person, their “date” or the person they just met, spikes their drink with a drug that’s designed to neutralize their judgment and memory. The motive? Unconsented-to sex – which is legally rape in Massachusetts.

Up until now, innocent victims of this practice (which used to be known as “slipping a Mickey” to someone,) had no idea they were being given such a drug – not until, usually, the end of the evening, when they woke up after their drugged stupor, and realized that they have been raped.

But a man named Mike Abramson wants to put a stop to all of this. Abramson has worked with a chemistry professor named John MacDonald at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. The two men created a special material to be used in the manufacture of plastic cups and straws that many bars and nightclubs stock. The material in the cup or straw causes it to change color when it comes in contact with the three most typical “drug rape” substances, thus alerting the drinker of the problem at hand. These three drugs, which will interact with materials in the cups and straws, are ketamine, GHB, and rohypnol, and they are the most common “drug rape” substances.

Ketamine, an anesthetic, was developed in 1963. It is typically used in human anesthesia and by veterinarians. Because ketamine is odorless and tasteless, it can be added to beverages without being detected, and the result is that it induces amnesia. GHB is quite commonly referred to as Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, or Liquid Ecstasy, according to the Partnership at Drug Free.org. GHB is colorless and odorless, yet has a salty taste. Despite that, GHB can be diluted in liquids and becomes virtually undetectable. GHB is made from gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide – and they are frequently used as floor stripping solvents and drain cleaners. Just imagine the horror of drinking something like this. Rohypnol is the brand name of a drug called Flunitrazepam, a powerful sedative that depresses the central nervous system. In slang, it is usually called a “roofie.” Roofies induce a sleepy, drunken stupor that can last up to eight hours. Disturbingly, roofies can also induce blackouts, a complete loss of memory, dizziness, nausea, disorientation, and difficulty speaking.

To counteract the effects of these drugs, Abramson has debuted a product line that includes 16-ounce plastic cups in addition to straws that change their color when in contact with each of these three drugs. The specially made cups and straws will be distributed for free at rape crisis centers, and Abramson wants to expand their distribution in bars, clubs and colleges. He also wants to introduce other products to the marketplace in 2014.

Why has Abramson developed these products? He himself was a victim of the drugs. He told Fox News that in the past three years, three of his close friends – and himself- were the unwitting victims of being drugged. “I want to prevent it from happening to anyone else,” he said. Women are not the only victims of Massachusetts rape and Massachusetts sexual assault crimes.

As a Boston drug crimes lawyer, I’m glad to see these types of products in the marketplace, so that innocent people are not victimized. The three types of drugs that I have described in this blog are Class A controlled substances. If you are found to be in possession of them, or have committed a rape by using them, severe criminal penalties will apply.