Library Dissertation Showcase

The effectiveness of commercially available kits to detect date rape drugs in spiked beverages

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

Drink spiking is not a new phenomenon (Stark and Wells, 1999), but recent years have seen an increase in the number of alleged incidents (Sky News, 2018; Shbair and Lhermitte, 2010). With this, a number of devices have been developed designed to detect so called “date rape” drugs in spiked drinks. In this research, three of these kits were tested in the laboratory in order to determine their effectiveness in detecting these substances. Several variables were considered in order to determine this including, the colour change, the time it took results to develop and the cross reactivity of certain kits with non-spiked beverages. All of the kits were tested according to the procedure supplied by the manufacturer. The results of this research revealed that none of these kits were sufficiently effective to provide consumers with peace of mind, and so, until a fully efficient date rape drug detection kit can be developed the only way someone can be sure that they are not drinking a spiked drink is to throw away any drink they believe may have been spiked. Because of this, work needs to be done to develop a kit that not only works efficiently in terms of detection of drugs, but one that is also fit for purpose for use in suboptimal conditions by a potentially vulnerable individual.

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