The date rape drug you already own, and anti-date rape straws!

No date rapes here!

Understatement of the century: date rape is not cool. Neither committing it, nor being a victim of it, should ever ever happen. As such, I want to promote awareness of something that could potentially be used as a date rape drug, but that’s also found in practically everyone’s medicine cabinet.

I’ve been conflicted for a long time about blogging about this, because I don’t want to enable those who seek to do bad things, but in the end I’ve decided that knowledge is power. And if you know about a particular danger, you can probably do more to protect yourself from it.

Also, I’m going to talk about these straws that scientists are working on, that might just prevent date rapes. Ahhh, now there’s a refreshing idea!

I won’t beat around the bush; the potential date rape drug that most people already own is…Visine. You know, the eye drops that clear up bloodshot eyes. To be fair, Clear Eyes
eye drops have just as much potential as a date rape drug. Plus they have this awesomely terrible commercial with Ben Stein:

The reason these eye drops, and, I presume, all the other brands of eye drops out there, have potential applications as date rape drugs is because they all contain tetrahydrozoline:

Innocent enough looking little thing, right? But, it’s not that innocent. Well, not when it’s in the wrong hands of somebody with bad intentions. You see, there was a very small publication that came from the Kentucky Regional Poison Center in 2007. The publication describes a guy who, in 2003, had been raping a woman and four children, all relatives of his, I believe, by adding Visine to their drinks.

While the tetrahydrozoline in eye drops will shrink the blood vessels in your eyes and make them less apparent, tetrahydrozoline ingested becomes a very strong high blood pressure medicine. When your blood pressure gets lowered too far, you can become drowsy, with a slowed heart rate and impaired breathing, and you can even enter a coma. Essentially, ingesting Visine or other eye drops can make someone an easier target for date rape. It is my sincere hope that by sharing this information I am NOT enabling those who would do harm, but empowering people to avoid potential dangers.

Speaking of avoiding dangers, I love drinking things through straws, and scientists in Israel are now working on straws that can detect the presence of date rape drugs in drinks! This is a truly great invention. It would be inexpensive (about $5), and all you’d have to do is dip it in your drink to instantly know whether date rape drugs had been added to it. Classic date rape drugs like ketamine and GHB are detected with, so far, 100% accuracy and no false positives, and when these chemicals interact with the testing solution in the straw, the drink turns cloudy and a little red light turns on in the straw. The developers are considering adding Rohypnol (aka “roofies”) to the list of detectable compounds in their straw. And even though using Visine as a date rape drug is rare in comparison to these other drugs I’ve just mentioned, might I suggest these scientists add tetrahydrozoline to the drug detection list as well?

If these straws really catch on (and why wouldn’t they?!), there should definitely be a push to stock them at every seedy bar and questionable frat party in the world. Just sayin’.

Stay nerdy safe! :)


Spiller HA, Rogers J, & Sawyer TS (2007). Drug facilitated sexual assault using an over-the-counter ocular solution containing tetrahydrozoline (Visine). Legal medicine (Tokyo, Japan), 9 (4), 192-5 PMID: 17320456

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18 Responses to The date rape drug you already own, and anti-date rape straws!

  1. Jesse says:

    Wait, i thought ingesting eyedrops will just make you puke alot and possibly even make you release your bowels AND even possibly kill you.

    Who’d wana rape someone who just shit their pants and then puked everywhere!?

    • NerdyOne says:

      Apparently it’s only urban legend that someone will get diarrhea from this. It’s reportedly not one of the side effects, although I imagine someone could get nauseous…?

  2. Lauren S. says:

    Wow. I had no idea Visine could be used as a date rape drug that is crazy because as you mentioned people have easy access to it. But I am very excited to here that scientists are working on straws that can be used to test drinks because those would work well. No woman can say that a straw cant fit in their clutch purse!

  3. I think it’s great that you’ve blogged about this, though I’m not sure how knowing that Visine can be used as a date-rape drug will help anyone protect themselves more. I think it’s more important to put emphasis on the fact that you ought to be vigilant and never leave drinks unattended regardless of how easily available various drugs are.

    • NerdyOne says:

      Your last point is critical, and I’m glad you pointed it out.

      I really think knowing about dangers can be helpful…guys don’t tend to carry much on them (wallet, phone, keys, the end), so if Visine is one of those things…well, just something to think about. Or if you overhear conversation about Visine at a wild party, maybe it’s not so casual. I dunno, don’t mean to make everyone paranoid, but I thought this was interesting data.

      I would’ve wanted to know…if I weren’t me?

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    Will it detect alcohol?

    • NerdyOne says:

      I don’t think so…it may be assuming the drink is already alcoholic. That certainly couldn’t hurt the product design, though!

  5. Amanda says:

    It is true I researched the sight to find out exactly what drug in the eye drops. Because I was date rapped with visine and the dr said I shouldn’t of been alive.

  6. Pingback: Sweet swag, hip Harvard, & ample alcohol | Try Nerdy

  7. karen says:

    so glad about the new straws. I was almost killed by an allergic reaction to ghb from an ass who wanted to dance with me but I refused. i had presence of mind to know something wasn’t right with my drink and told the bartender, who called the cops and ambulance. He was arrested and I was saved thank goodness

  8. emerald says:

    how long does it stay in effect? and how do you tell withoout being a snitch

    • Riley says:

      Telling a bartender that somebody out something in your drink isn’t being a snitch. Its protecting yourself from getting raped.

  9. Bill Huston says:

    As a father of three daughters who are dating, just how muvh of the visine does a guy have to carry around to use for a Date Rape? Shoud I be concerned with a guy wearing glasses and having the use of visine? Just how much visine does it take to induse a ‘date rape” condition?? I do not want to panic any of my daughters before I know more.
    Thank you;

  10. kurt says:

    Everything I have read has said that it can kill you if you ingest Visine, so how the hell could it be used aas a date rape drug? Rape a dead person? And if this is true, how come you NEVER hear about this, but all the other “date-rape” drugs are widely known and incidents are reported??

  11. William says:

    If Visine causes your blood pressure to lower, What about perscription meds used for high blood pressure? Can those be crushed and added? Will this new straw be able to detect the active ingredience in them?

  12. Superman says:

    HOW can the FDA allow such a product when if ingested can have such effects?!?!


    Once again another useless and corrupt govt organization.

    As if bloodshot eyes are such an issue?!

  13. Marcus Ranum says:

    Hmmmm, i never would’ve guessed, even with my background in chemistry. Guess i never paid attention to the ingredients of my eye drops. As you began, no one should ever date rape, and no one should ever be date-raped!

    Nice looking out though

  14. john says:

    i use GenTeal.manufactured by include mention of
    tetrahydrozoline ,can it be confused with eyedrops like visine.i don’t want to be accused of carrying a potential date rape drug at parties i attend,??

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