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Incapacitating Drugs

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress is being made with the design of a device to test for a broad spectrum of incapacitating drugs in alcoholic drinks.[129617]

The Department of Trade and Industry commissioned research to look at the viability of a potential drug detecting device, such as a "swizzle stick", that could be unobtrusively used by people in pubs and clubs to detect drugs in drinks. Unfortunately, the prohibitive costs involved, and the difficulty of producing a satisfactory device, led to the project's discontinuance.In general, we would urge people to exercise care with any product that claims to provide a complete solution to this problem, not least because of the reported widespread use of alcohol itself as a substance to facilitate the overpowering of a victim. Any device that provides only a partial screen is potentially dangerous to the extent that it may offer false reassurance.