INTRODUCTION A date rape drug is described as any drug that changes the awareness or responsiveness of a person in such a manner that causes difficulty in self-defence or clear

INTRODUCTION
A date rape drug is described as any drug that changes the awareness or responsiveness of a person in such a manner that causes difficulty in self-defence or clear, cognitive decision-making. Such drugs often lead to sexual assaults where a person is not able to resist or decline unwanted sexual activity and are classed as Drug Facilitated Sexual Assaults (DFSAs). According to Medical News Today, at least 1 in 4 women in America have been victims of DFSAs and most times the assault occurred by someone they know or are familiar with . Some effects of these drugs are memory loss, confusion, dizziness, slow heart rate and even death.
The most common date rape drugs (“club drugs”) are Rohypnol, Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB), Ketamine, Benzodiazepines and Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) . Some drugs may also be manufactured from the reaction of precursor molecules. For example, GBL is a precursor molecule to the GHB drug which is activated in the presence of a peripheral lactone and then converted to GHB.
GHB is a naturally occurring component found in human brain cells and was discovered in the year 1963 by the French physician, Dr. Henri-Marie Laborit . It plays a significant role in the functionality of the central nervous system by acting as a tranquilizer and thus allows the brain to naturally treat cases of anxiety, stress and sleep disorders. This drug is amongst the commonly used club drugs when it comes to raves and parties, particularly because of its sedative, intoxicative and euphoric effects. However, when it is combined with alcohol and other drugs, it is deemed sufficient to cause death .

Effects of some Date Rape Drugs
DRUG EFFECTS STRUCTURE
Rohypnol ? White/light-green pill
? Odourless and Colourless
? Starts taking effect from 20 – 30 mins
? Can last up to 8 – 12 hours
? Has a paralyzing effect (i.e. loss of muscle control)
? Visual Disturbances
GHB ? Effects begin 15 – 60 mins after use
? Can last up to 6 hours
? Can be detected in urine up to 12 hours after ingestion
? Drowsiness
? Forgetfulness
Ketamine ? Causes a feeling of relaxation
? Acts almost instantaneously
? Comes as a white powder that may alter the taste of the beverage
? Can cause seizures, difficulty seeing and memory loss

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How common is “date-rape drugging”?
Date-rape drugging is a growing issue in the Caribbean though it may not be advertised as such, leaving the public in an unaware state. In 2016, there was a reported case of a Guyanese woman who suffered the effects of these drugs. According to Caribbean 360, she was lured into a hotel by her male partner in the country’s capital where she woke up the next morning knowing she had been violently assaulted simply by the look of her genital area. However, she was unable to remember who attacked her and was told by her male companion that they had intercourse and left her in the hotel room after. Despite this report, persons believe the alternative may have taken place .
Another incident occurred in one of the Dutch Caribbean islands Curaçao, where a mother was drugged at bar of the hotel in which they were staying. According to the report, the family of three went to the island for her 18-year-old son’s High School graduation trip. They visited the bar and ordered a drink, but her husband left them to take a quick shower and was expected to return shortly after. However, as soon as he left, a stranger came to sit next to her and began conversing with her and her son in an overly friendly manner. She was suspicious because of the interest he took in her but didn’t think too much of it because they were at the hotel bar. He eventually bought them a round of tequila, but she wasn’t too worried because she had consumed minimal alcohol and she knew her husband would be returning soon. Shortly after that drink, she began feeling unwell and didn’t understand the reason as to why. Luckily, her husband returned just in time to analyse the situation. She felt sick for hours and was even close to death. It was to her belief that her drink had been roofied when the bartender was taking a picture of her and her son .
On another occasion, two friends decided to take a trip to a resort in the Dominican Republic. They had great hopes of their vacation, however, their experience at the resort was one full of negativity. They were being harassed by hotel employees and felt like they were being followed on many occasions. On their final night at the resort, one of the girls ordered a drink while at the beach which was believed to be drugged based on the events that followed. Sipping on the drink was the last thing she remembered for 11 hours. Her friend was the one who described to her what took place, for example, that her eyes were bright red with a glazed look and her speech was slurred. She could’ve barely walked, her breathing had slowed down drastically, and later into the night, she vomited. The next day, she was weak, nauseous and had little to no energy .
An investigation that was conducted recently showed that 1.6% of teenagers between the ages 12 – 17 reported cases of violence while on dates, with 0.9% being sexually assaulted. This means that 10% and more of those cases were DFSAs .

HISTORY
As mentioned earlier, “Date-rape drugging” usually leads to persons falling victim to DFSAs. This term was only made popular in the 1990s through the media, however, the use of drugs for illegal purposes have been occurring for over hundreds of years and has made criminal offenses such as theft or physical assault much simpler and easier .
One of the earliest suggestions of drug-use dates way back to 5000 B.C. where it was described by the Sumerians as something that gives “joy” or causes “rejoicing”. Those two words are usually associated with a euphoric feeling (i.e. having an intense excitement and happiness) and hence suggests that they were users of opiates .
BACKGROUND
GHB is predominantly a depressant. It can be produced in a liquid form as well as in a powder, tablet or capsule form. It has a salty taste but when diluted, however, it can go practically unnoticeable .
Based on literature, the intended purpose of GHB was to be use it in the medical field as an anaesthetic to cause a temporary loss of awareness and pain. However, after some time, such use was reduced after the realization of how poor its pain-relieving properties were. It was also suggested as a treatment of persons who suffers with narcolepsy but was deemed ineffective due to its side effects. In the 80’s, GHB was further marketed as a supplement which helped to reduce fat and develop muscles, but as the years progressed, they listed it as chemically unsafe due to the many reports of ailments associated with its usage. This led the FDA to place certain bans on the chemical as well as any precursors where GHB is produced at the end4.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Over the past few years, people have become wearier of the possibility of being drugged on night out at a bar or club and then being harmed in a way that they have no control over. Most times, persons are unaware of the presence of these drugs in substances such as alcoholic beverages because they have no visible characteristics. GHB, particularly when in liquid form, has no colour or scent and hence can be easily slipped into someone’s drink .
According to Waller et. al, GHB was initially labelled as an anaesthetic for its intended purpose, however, it is presently labelled as an illegal intoxicant that can be used as a date-rape drug as well as a performance enhancer in athletes. It is labelled as such because it can trigger a physiological response when mixed with receptors found in certain parts of the brain (i.e., cortex and hippocampus), causing an increase in happiness, libido and the ability to socialise. Although those effects can be put into the same class as if one drinks alcohol, at high doses, it can cause agitation, confusion, amnesia, comas and even the inability to fight or be in control of one’s own body .
One study conducted by Dale W. Quest, in the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, showed the utilization of a date-rape drug detection device using hands-on/field applications as well as laboratory analysis. This field device allowed participants to extract a small portion of their beverage and place it into a coded vial which contained actual drug standards or pure water, later to which the results were recorded on a card with a sticker containing a key or a code which relates to that specific vial of drink sample. The device was made to focus on two common date-rape drugs namely, GHB and ketamine.
The study showed that the laboratory experiments displayed more reliability over those conducted on the field. To determine whether drinks were spiked, the tests were conducted on special coasters developed by Drink Safe Technologies of Tallahassee, Fl. These coasters contained four test spots where a certain volume of liquid can be placed, and a colour change can be detected. A positive test for GHB shows a colour change from green to blue while for ketamine shows from pink to blue. The four test spots allowed for repeatability in GHB and ketamine determinations.
While this being positive, there were quite a few limitations found in using the field testing kits such as lack of familiarity in pinpointing a positive or negative reaction in which can be deemed dangerous due to unreliability. Also, the volume of spotted test area impacts the time required for drying which in turn affects the time required for a complete reaction to occur. In addition, the field results showed a major cause for concern because in some instances, the paired test of the same drink showed no colour changes. However, when those same samples were lab tested, the reaction was confirmed but not long-lasting5.
Meyers and Almirall from the Florida International University, carried out similar studies in earlier years (2004) to those of Quest (2007). Though the inferences made were the same, Meyers et. al noted that coasters were most likely to be read in a nightclub where they were placed under fluorescent lights and left to dry at room temperature. Samples that showed no colour change were most likely caused by visual hindrance which leads to incorrect interpretations of test results .
Research conducted in Singapore by Zhai et al, showed the development of the first fluorescent sensor for the illegal date rape drug GBL. It was given the name ‘Green Date’ and the connection between the drug and the sensor was studied to prevent DFSAs from occurring.
The method of testing was found to be quite simple but effective and was used to test several beverages that were representative of various types of drinks, (i.e., alcoholic, non-alcoholic, coloured and colourless). In extraction, dichloromethane was the solvent employed to remove interfering species, such as coloured components and ethanol, as well as allowed the facilitation of increasing the concentration of GBL in the drink sample. The separated organic layer is what was utilized to introduce water containing Green Date.
While dichloromethane extracts most interfering species, some may remain which leaves the chance of those species being concentrated up to 10x its original concentration.
Detection of GBL was as straightforward as pointing a green laser which passes through samples that contained no GBL with Green Date while an orange fluorescence is turned on in samples containing GBL with Green Date.
In addition, GBL is found to be more lipophilic than GHB. Because of this property, a phenomenon known as static quenching occurs where polar solvents cause the hydrophobic fluorescent molecules to clump together, to reduce the physical contact with water molecules. Static quenching hence lessens fluorescence in aqueous samples .
Many other concepts of technologies in the detection of date-rape drugs are being developed but has not yet come to its full potential. These gadgets are made simple enough to discreetly test drinks without the knowledge of the perpetrator.
One such example that falls under wearable technology, is a Nail Polish made to distinguish the presence of drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB by a colour change. The person simply has to stir their drink with one finger and wait a few minutes to observe any change in appearance of the nail polish. The downside to this is that the drug may come into contact with the individual’s skin and food and hence is not advised .
Another example of wearable tech is a device that is disguised as a key chain or even a prop for your phone and contains a sensor that detects whether your drink was spiked. It works by simply placing a drop of your drink on the sample port of the device. One line signifies that one or more of the drugs are present while two line signifies that your drink is in the clear ‘ .
RATIONALE
In this analysis, I plan to carry out a systematic study on date-rape drugs used in drug facilitated sexual assaults against individuals where one can detect their presence by performing a simple task to ensure safety. The basis for such study is that more often than less, individuals (particularly females) are found in situations where they involuntarily ingest drugs via beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), which puts them at risk for sexual assaults. To avoid such situations, preventative measures must be put in place. In so doing, the aim is to develop a drug test kit that aids in the identification of certain date-rape drugs, particularly GHB, as well as to manufacture it in such a way where it is not easily recognized.
DESIGN
In doing research, it is evident that new and improved methods of date-rape drug detection should be introduced and developed. Seeing the pros and cons of each method of testing, a modern way of GHB detection would use a test kit which includes a UV marker, a stir-stick and a specially made glasses called the UV-BG. For this to work, an invisible ink which only reacts with the components/groups found on GHB causing the formation of a product that cannot be seen by the naked eye. This is where the UV-BG glasses comes into play and the invisible ink or substance can be made visible when in use. The stir-stick is either dipped into the ink or the ink is pasted unto the stir-stick and now this stick can be used to stir your drink. When this is done, the ink is made visible under the UV-GB only if it detects the presence of the drug.
Another method of testing would be to use Acid/Base chemistry where the pH of the drink would determine the presence of GHB based on colour changes. Here it works similarly to a pH indicator, however, instead of having a visible testing strip, the indicator would be infused into the stir stick in such a way that the colour change can be clearly observed.
METHODOLOGY
Fluorescent Detector
Sampling Plan:
Purchase one pack containing about 50 stir sticks for start-up purposes.

List of Materials:
• GHB Fluorescent Sensor – GHB Orange
• Stir Sticks
This test is suitable because it is a simple one step test where the results are easy to read and understand. It is also safe, economical, reliable and environmentally friendly, having a shelf life of about 4 years and results are obtained almost immediately.

pH Stir Stick
List of Materials:
• GHB
• Water
• 0.1N NaOH
Before integrating the testing strip into the stir stick, the strip should be soaked in 0.1N NaOH for approximately 2 hours and allowed to dry prior use. When it is dried, it can then be placed into the stir stick and used to detect the presence of GHB in drinks. Note that in using this method, the two most efficient mixtures to detect GHB would be GHB in water and GHB with 0.1N NaOH (basic drinks). These showed the colour change to be blue, having pHs of 7.5 and 11 respectively. To compare this experiment, a control can be prepared by using samples that contained GHB only, water only and 0.1N NaOH only.

This technology was chosen based on the ease one can use the stir stick. It requires little-to-no training in using this kit and it is cheap and readily available for purchase .

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