You still feel the chill down your spine when you think of ‘that night’. Before that last sip of your drink, everything seemed perfect. Even when you try hard to remember what exactly happened, all you recall is halfway through your last drink a pair of hands pour some liquid from a black ampoule into your glass. And then everything sinks into oblivion. The surreptitious practice of dosing people, mainly women, at bars and parties has turned into a pandemic in the West. Incidents of spiking drinks often go unreported; even if they are reported, victims are often judged and blamed for putting themselves in such situations. In other words, when victimhood is not that tidy, it stands no chance in the public eye.
To address this issue, an American startup, Undercover Colors, has made headlines by developing a date-rape drug test that allows women to check if their drinks have been spiked within a span of 30 seconds. Undercover Colors launched a kit that contains a tiny one-inch medallion that can be carried around in wallets and pockets. Few years ago, Undercover Colors had announced that it was developing a nail polish that would detect the presence of date-rape drugs like “Roofies” (Rohypnol) and ketamine in drinks. The nail polish would change colour when immersed in a drink which had been spiked. According to a study by the US Department of Justice, drug-facilitated sexual assault and sexual assault while being debilitated and, therefore, not able to provide consent is a prevalent problem affecting nearly one in 10 women in the US. In the developing world, including in India, we should be prepared especially in big cities for more such global trends. And learn from the solutions being provided.