New product aims to spike threat of date rape drugs

By David tucker

Published 21/05/2016 | 00:00

Gary Bates with samples of the new test packs.
Gary Bates with samples of the new test packs.

A man with strong family ties to Kilmore is pitching a new product that will enable people to test if their drinks have been spiked with so-called date rape drugs.

Gary Bates, a brother of Wexford composer and conductor Liam Bates, is currently in the running in a UK and Ireland competition for start-ups run by Virgin.

'We started life producing gum wraps, a cardboard pack to tear off and dispose of your chewing gum and came up with the framework of using the same idea to put some testing chemicals on papers which you then dip into your drink,' Gary told this newspaper.

'We're currently trying to get votes for the competition to get us through to the next pitching round,' he said.

'Test Your Drink' is a small pack containing five sheets of test spots to dip into your drink to test for the predatory drugs GHB and Ketamine.

Every year in the UK and Ireland, hundreds of people are thought to be victims of drink spiking, where drugs or alcohol are added to someone's drink without them knowing. So called date rape drugs are particularly dangerous when mixed with alcohol because they combine to have a very powerful anaesthetic effect.

'Our vision for Test Your Drink is to make it widely available to the public and particularly in the environment where alcohol is consumed,' says Garry in his pitch for the Virgin Voom 2016.

'Test Your Drink' already receiving research and development funding from Techstart, but needs public support to raise its profile and get through to the next stage and the opportunity to share £1 million prize fund, £250,000 advertising campaign and £50,000 in cash as well as advice, mentoring, telecoms and much more.

One of Gary's other products, Gum Wrap, is widely distributed in Ireland, producing 200,000 packs a year. He is now working on a campaign with The Gum Litter Taskforce who produce an annual gum litter awareness campaign 'Bin it Your Way.'

Gary's late father Peter was born in Kilmore and his mother Patricia still lives there as hoes brother Liam.

'I'm here pretty well every month or so. The family is huge.. my dad had 12 in his,' said Gary, who works for Big Fish Design and Marketing, and is currently based in Belfast.

There is only a week left to vote for 'Test Your Drink'. To make a difference go to https://www.vmbvoom.com/pitches/test-your-drink-1

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