Tech UPTechnologySafer party nights: they develop a sensor to detect...

Safer party nights: they develop a sensor to detect drugs in drinks

Someone can slip drugs into your drink without you realizing it, after which you may not be able to think straight. However, this type of drug can hardly ever be detected, because the GHB recently used in nightclubs disappears from the blood within 3 hours.

The iGEM student team at TU Delft is working on a rapid sensor to detect GHB in beverages . This will alert the user and provide drug evidence.

Given the increase in cases of the use of this drug for criminal purposes and its involvement in cases of sexual violence, students from TU Delft decided to use technology to warn about the presence of GHB in drinks.

This is a fast and reliable detection method for GHB with your SPYKE project. Their ultimate goal is a high-speed, high-precision sensor that can be put into any glass, they detailed in a statement.

The moment the GHB ends up in the drink, a light in your glass comes on to warn the user. “This way we hope to protect the drug user and give them the evidence to file a complaint,” says Rebecca Jekel, a member of the team.

In addition, the team works together with the police, club and cafe owners, the public ministry, victims of drug use and health institutions to create a product that meets everyone’s requirements.

Last week, the Delft team started a crowdfunding campaign to continue research and develop their sensor. With this project, the team represents TU Delft at the global iGEM competition in Paris in October this year.

“Crowdfunding is necessary to pay for specific parts of the sensor so that we can deliver the best possible end product. Every little bit helps make sensor development possible,” Rebecca said.

What is GHB?

GHB (gammahydroxybutyrate) was synthesized by Dr. Laborit about 30 years ago.

It is a depressant substance of the Central Nervous System, it is commonly known as: liquid ecstasy, a name that leads to mistakes in consumers, since being a depressant it produces the opposite effect of ecstasy (stimulant drug).

During the 1980s, it was freely sold in energy stores, as an anabolic or growth hormone stimulant.

It has been used as a general anesthetic and its use has been experienced for the treatment of cerebral edema and alcohol withdrawal syndrome. In the US it has been used for the treatment of insomnia and narcolepsy.

In Spain it does not have any therapeutic indication, and currently it is not part of any drug.

In 2002, GHB was included in the list of internationally controlled substances, its sale and consumption being prohibited.

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