Putting an end to date rape, one nail at a time

Madeline Gallegos

Pink nail polish.
Pink nail polish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Date rape is an issue that’s been around for years. Whether it’s at clubs, a bar, or even a friend’s house, it’s a serious matter, something that women and girls have to be aware of.

Unfortunately for women, there’s always a risk that your drink could be drugged by someone with an adversarial motive, even if it wasn’t left unattended. An estimated 25% of all rapes are thought to be related to some sort of drug, the most common being alcohol (sexualityandu.ca, 2014). Although, even though alcohol is the most commonly used drug, it’s combination with Rohypnol and even other “recreational drugs” is what makes it so dangerous.

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However, a few students are hoping to create a future without the danger of drug-facilitated date rape.  This group of students at North Carolina State University are working on the development of a nail polish that will change color the second it comes in contact with Rohypnol or Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid. Other products in the past have tried to create a similar effect, such as a color changing coaster made by DrinkSafe Technologies. While successful at detecting traces of GHB and Ketamine, the coasters can’t detect Rohypnol, the drug that is most well known to the public (drinksafetech.com, 2014). 

This new nail polish will revolutionize the very limited market that aims at preventing date rape through the detection of certain drugs. The Undercover Colors Facebook page claims that all a woman would need to do is apply the nail polish as normal, then simply, and most importantly discreetly, stir her drink with her finger to detect drugs that have been mixed in. If the nail polish stays the original color, she is safe and no drug is present. However if it changes color, then there is something questionable in the drink.

The nail polish fills in holes that other products have failed to cover, such as being able to detect Rohypnol, GHB, and additionally Xanax (Undercover Colors, 2014). While the product doesn’t yet have complete funding, the students at North Carolina State are hoping that their idea will change the statistics on date rape. If you would like to donate to their research and product development, you can visit their donation page. It’s estimated that someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes, and with those numbers this is a product we can’t say no to (RAINN, 2014).

Date rape is crime that has been hard to prevent for years. Men that women know and trust are often the most frequent perpetrators, making it even more difficult for women to come forward. Women shouldn’t have to worry that a stranger, let alone a friend or family member, will drug their drink and sexually assault them. This technology developed in North Carolina is essential to the eradication of date rape and is long overdue. The future where intentions of sexual assault can not only be detected, but prevented by something as simple as nail polish is a future that all women need, but also deserve.