Drug-sniffing beer mat fails

Coaster designed to detect date-rape drugs pulled from market in Britain

Sept 26, 2002 - A beer mat (coaster) designed by a British company to detect date-rape drugs has been withdrawn from the market after it failed several laboratory tests.


Proofies, produced by SureScreen Diagnostics of Derby, had been advertised as a safe and reliable way to protect against date-rape drugs. Tests at St George's Hospital in London for BBC Radio's PM program showed the product failed to detect benzo-diazapines, a drug used in date-rape cases, in several cases.

The coaster has a strip on it which is meant to change colour if the drink is contaminated. Dr. David Holt, head of the analytical unit at St George's, said: "We got some of the sticks and beer mats to say the drink was safe when it had benzo-diazapines in it."

SureScreen Diagnostics managing director Jim Campbell said: "I am very surprised, as we have done a lot of trials.... We need to look more carefully at the range of products we can detect."

He said the company was withdrawing the product from the market while further trials were done.

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