We’ve all heard about Rohypnol and GHB, otherwise known as roofies, sedatives invented in the 1970s that were unfortunately later repurposed as date rape drugs. Many times more potent than Valium, these odorless, colorless, and almost tasteless drugs can be next to impossible to detect if slipped into a drink. Four North Carolina State University students are working to change that by developing a nail polish that changes color if it touches these drugs. All a wearer has to do is dip her finger in her drink and she’ll know whether it’s safe.
The nail polish is called Undercover Colors, and if it works, it could be even more effective than cups and straws that can detect the presence of date rape drugs (martinis don’t come in cups and most of us haven’t sucked beer through a straw since college). The company cites the sobering statistic that 18% of women in the U.S. have been or will be sexually assaulted during their lifetimes, and many of those assaults happen on college campuses, including 14 reported assaults at North Carolina State University between 2010-2012 (and many more at neighboring Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill).