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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 20:19 GMT 21:19 UK
Date-rape beer mat fails test
beer mat
The product has been withdrawn from the market
A beer mat designed to detect date-rape drugs has been withdrawn from the market after it failed several laboratory tests.

Proofies, produced by SureScreen Diagnostics of Derby, are advertised as a safe and reliable way to protect against date-rape drugs.

But tests at St George's Hospital in London for BBC Radio's PM programme showed the product failed to detect benzo-diazapines, a drug used in date-rape cases, in several cases.

John Ramsey, director of a drugs database at St George's Hospital, said in certain cases the products seemed to show that a spiked drink was safe.

'Flawed' product

The beer mat 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.


We need to look more carefully at the range of products we can detect

Jim Campbell SureScreen Diagnostics

"That was very disappointing, and some of the beer mats did not give any result at all.

"They are flawed fundamentally as they are testing for one group of drugs and our tests show they are not doing that very successfully."

SureScreen Diagnostics managing director Jim Campbell said: "I am very surprised, as we have done a lot of trials.

"I have to accept we do not have the answer in every case.

"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.

There were 1,200 calls to the Drug Rape Trust in England in 2001.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC's Rory McLean reports
The beer mat failed to detect a date rape drug in several cases

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Click here to go to Derby
See also:

10 Apr 02 | England
10 Dec 01 | UK
17 May 00 | UK
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