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German inventors develop bracelet to test drinks for date-rape drugs

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German inventors develop bracelet to test drinks for date-rape drugs
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Spiking drinks with date rape drugs is out of control, the German co-inventor of a bracelet aimed at combatting the problem has told Euronews.

The wristband only needs a drop of liquid to be applied to it to test whether there are traces of substances designed to incapacitate someone.

"You always think it can't happen to you or your friend," Kim Eisenmann, who developed the Xantus bracelet with Sven Häuser, told Euronews.

She added: "The problem is out of control. You have to say it like this. The police don’t want to tell, but that’s how it is.”

'Very sensitive subject'

The bracelet, which is already available at German healthcare shop dm-drogerie markt, is white and resembles the ribbon used to enter many clubs.

It has two green circles that turn blue if the wearer applies some of their drink and the result is positive for the drugs.

The bracelet also aims to deter potential offenders when they see someone wearing it as well as serving as a reminder to the wearer to be mindful of the crime.

"For example, when someone I don't know offers me a shot, a quick glance at my wrist reminds me: 'There was something, you better watch it, do you really want to drink it?' Then you don't deal with it so lightly any more," she said.

Xantus was born from the personal experience of Eisenmann's friend, a victim of drink spiking, who after attending a party was found injured in a park and could not remember anything.

Eisenmann, who attended the same party, decided to develop the bracelet with Häuser when they realised no such product was already available on the market.

The company has found to their surprise that, via their online shop, the bracelet is mostly bought by men.

"That totally surprised us. When we started the product, we thought it was more of a 'mother thing'," she explained.

Unfortunately, according to the 25-year-old inventor, nightclub owners are reluctant to talk about drink spiking.

"This is a very, very sensitive subject. The club operators have not yet understood that this is an additional security gain," she said.

"A counterexample would be: If I distribute condoms in the club, that doesn't mean that only people with AIDS are running around here," she added.

Colourless and tasteless

According to the UK's NHS website, every year hundreds of people are thought to be victims of drink spiking, where alcohol or drugs are added to someone's drink without them knowing.

Many more incidents happen abroad or go unreported because of embarrassment or memory loss, according to the institution.

Drugs that have reportedly been used for drink spiking include gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) — both drugs with sedative and anaesthetic effects — tranquilisers including Valium (diazepam) and Rohypnol, as well as ketamine.

Substances like GHB are often colourless and tasteless and work fast causing dizziness and nausea, sometimes after just 10 minutes, according to non-profit Weisser Ring.

Their effects are similar to alcohol so it is often assumed the victim is drunk and most do not remember what happened.

Drink spiking is illegal in the UK, carrying a maximum 10 years in prison and if an assault, rape or robbery has also taken place, the sentence will be higher.

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