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College students create nail polish that detects date rape drugs

Veronica Liow, Managing Editor

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17.7 million women in American have been victims of an attempted or completed rape. That is, 1 out of 6 women will experience sexual assault at least once in their lifetime, and that’s only those that are reported. Imagine the 60% of sexual assaults, according to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, that are not.

To combat these startling statistics, four male college students from North Carolina State University have developed nail polish, branded Undercover Colors, that changes color when it comes in contact with date rape drugs ranging from Xanax to Roofies, all of which are tasteless and odorless, making them much harder to detect.

This means that for women suspicious of the drink, which the seemingly friendly and trustworthy guy in the left corner just brought to them, can simply swirl their fingers in the drink to find out the real intent of this potential offender.

The four men have also stated that through this innovation, they hope to deter future perpetrators from spiking women’s drinks for fear of getting caught.

Although the general population of people respond positively to the innovative idea, others are skeptical.

Kate Russell from Rape Crisis England and Wales said, “Whilst Undercover Color’s initiative is well meaning,” she said, “on the whole, Rape Crisis does not endorse or promote such a product or anything similar. This is for three reasons: 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.”

The majority of critics, like Russell, criticize Undercover Colors mainly because it does not encourage preventing sexual assault and instead assumes that women should protect themselves.

Maya Dusenberry of Feministing said, “Personally avoiding sexual assault — or one particular, rather uncommon type of sexual assault — is not the same as preventing sexual assault.”

The company wrote on their Facebook page that “While date rape drugs are often used to facilitate sexual assault, very little science exists for their detection,” engendering more criticisms from skeptics.

Currently, Undercover Colors is still in its early stages of development.

The CEO and co-founder, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, stated on the company’s Facebook page, “One of our main priorities is to ensure that we develop a product that tests for a comprehensive set of drugs before we release it. Our proof-of-concept research has been very promising and we want to continue to build on this early success before we officially release a product in stores.”

Undercover Colors announced that they are working with pd.id, a gadget that quickly detects rape drugs and are currently raising funds to refine prototypes.

The company has over $10,000 in personal donations. They continue to participate in multiple competitions such as NCIDEA, K50 Business Showcase, F6S and more in order to raise funds that will go towards research.

According to Engadget, the company has raised $100,000 alone from a single investor.

Visit https://undercovercolors.cloverdonations.com/uc-donations-page to donate.

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The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.
College students create nail polish that detects date rape drugs