College Student Invented Cocktail Napkins That Can Detect Drugs In Your Drink

A lot of fun that can come with a night out on the town with your besties, but unfortunately, it’s important to realize there’s some danger, too. Simply leaving your drink unattended for a few seconds — even if it’s with someone you trust — can have serious consequences.

A person in the United States is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, and seven out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. One way to protect yourself while in social settings is to make sure your drink is with you at all times in the chance that someone is looking to drug you.

drink photo
Flickr | Chris Kantos

Danya Sherman, a student at George Washington University, knows the danger firsthand, after being drugged by her friend while studying abroad in Spain in 2016. Now she is on a mission to empower others to be safer in social settings through an invention called KnoNap, a device disguised as a napkin that detects specific rape drugs. All you have to do is put a little bit of your drink on your KnoNap and if it changes colors, you know your drink has been tampered with.

The device is currently in development and not yet for sale, but is expected to be released in the fall of 2018, according to Glamour. You can sign up on KnoNap’s website to learn when it is released.

KnoNap joins a growing list of other devices to help curb drug-assisted sexual assault. For example, Undercover Colors, is a line of nail polish that can detect common date rape drugs, like GHB, Rohypnol or ecstasy, simply by dipping your finger in your drink.

There is also the Brio Smart Coaster, which uses Bluetooth technology to notify you if someone tampers with your drink. You use the Brio Smart Coaster as you normally would any coaster, but if you have to leave your drink, you put it in “guard” mode via an app and put the coaster on top of your drink. If someone moves it, you will get an alert on your phone.

We tested the coaster out last year and every time it was moved from covering the top of the drink, an alert was sent right away.

Kaitlin Gates

There is also at least one bar in St. Petersburg, Florida taking a less technology-driven approach at helping out by simply offering what is called an “Angel Shot“. All you have to do is order the shot and the bartender will know you need help.

A version of the shot is also offered at a bar in the U.K., where they call it the “Angela.” Women who want the bartender to help them get away from a date that has gotten weird or uncomfortable and ask for “Angela”; the bar will call them a taxi so they can leave the situation safely.

Of course, the only thing that will truly prevent sexual violence from happening is perpetrators being stopped. However, all of these methods are ways which help women feel more empowered. What do you think of these possibly life-saving ideas?