Students entering college are often warned about the dangers of putting their drinks down at parties. But thanks to a new product, there’s more they can do to protect themselves from date rape drugs.
2LoveMyLips recently developed a lip gloss that comes with a small, portable kit that can be used to test a drink to see if it was spiked with drugs. The kit includes a pink taper slip that, when placed into a drink, will turn blue if the drink contains traces of GHB or ketamine — common date rape drugs.
The product was first launched in the United Kingdom and has showed positive sales in beauty salons across the country. The company plans not only to bring the gloss overseas, but also to make it available at bars and in restrooms so it is accessible if someone is concerned that their drink has been tainted.
Although the company’s owner Tracy Whittaker said she expected sales to focus on women ages 17-35, the product has been sold to men as well as women of all ages. She said men have been buying the product for their wives, daughters and girlfriends.
Whittaker is looking to bring her product overseas as soon as possible and is seeking a distributor. The largest portion of online sales has come from the United States.
“We would love to get it onto the college campuses,” Whittaker said, “because that’s where there is a lot of (drink) spiking.”
Aimee Nimeh, Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center assistant director for education and training at the University, said she isn’t sure how effective the product would be at the University, especially considering it only tests for GHB and ketamine.
She added that date rape drugs are not as prevalent on campus in date rape cases.
“We don’t see very many cases of the date rape drug being used,” she said. “Alcohol on its own is more widely used.”
Nimeh also said the kit is not as convenient as it appears and that many people who would buy the kit would also be taking more protective measures at a party.
“Because it’s not the lip gloss that actually changes colors, but a strip that changes colors it looks more like a marketing technique or not all that convenient,” she said. “If you were going to be that vigilant, there are probably other risk-reduction techniques that you could use.”
LSA junior Elana Mendelowitz said she would consider using the product.
“I haven’t heard of definite cases on this campus but it’s definitely an issue on college campuses. It can’t be denied that it’s an issue and I think people should be wary of it,” she said. “Girls carry around lip gloss all the time so why not just get this lip gloss and they can help themselves and each other.”
LSA freshman Sarah Loeb also said she would try out the product.
“I don’t wear lip gloss that much, but I think I would wear this one if I had the option,” she said. “That way I would be able to test my drink just in case I was concerned.”
Whittaker said she first got the idea to create a compact date rape testing kit 18 months ago when she was in a bar in Belfast, England and was advised by the bartender to be wary of spiking after being given a drink by a man she didn’t know.
When she arrived home, she looked up ways to test if a drink had been spiked and found that the smallest kit on the market was the size of a credit card, and she believed no ordinary woman would want to go out with it in tow.
“It’s one of those things girls don’t go out without (lip gloss),” Whittaker said. “The whole concept is look gorgeous but stay in control.”