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  #1  
Old 06-24-2010, 12:15 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Is there a convenient drug a layman can use to knock somebody out very quickly?

Another (kind of hackneyed) question for my book.

I know, of course, that an anesthesiologist can put you down for the count before you count down to eight. And I'm sure that those men in the white coats have something they can inject into your ass so you stop trying to chew their faces off.

I need something that a non-expert can use easily with a syringe that doesn't, say, need refrigeration or anything. He won't get too bent out of shape if he accidentally kills, say, one in twenty with it, but he does want them to wake up from it. He'll be using it on women of roughly similar weight to one another. Also, it has to be something that he can purposefully overdose somebody on and kill them.

Then, I need to know of the candidates how long it takes you to die of an overdose (I need some time in here), what the symptoms are, if a victim would regain consciousness at all, and what the treatment would be (and how quickly it would work.) I was thinking morphine, but don't know if that's a practical knockout drug in the first place.

Also good to know, of course, is how easy it would be to come by for our killer, although I'm sure you can get just about anything you want if you're willing to, say, go to Mexico, right?
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  #2  
Old 06-24-2010, 12:38 PM
DogRatCat DogRatCat is offline
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Am I the only one thinking, we better see all this some day in an actual BOOK, and not in newspaper headlines! :-)

So anyway, since your killer isn't exactly law-abiding, why can't he have acquired his knockout juices illicitly rather than brewing up his own concoction? From a veterinary clinic or whatever.
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  #3  
Old 06-24-2010, 01:06 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Oh, I didn't mean "what can he make", I meant "what can he buy or steal" - what drugs he'd use. What substances would do what I need them to do?

And no way would I drug people and haul them out to the country - I'm not strong enough to load a full grown knocked out woman into a vehicle without an accomplice, and you know two can keep a secret if one of them is dead.
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  #4  
Old 06-24-2010, 01:10 PM
ShibbOleth ShibbOleth is offline
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"Hey, does this smell like chloroform to you?"
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  #5  
Old 06-24-2010, 01:11 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is offline
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If ever a thread cried out for the [need answer fast] tag.....
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  #6  
Old 06-24-2010, 01:11 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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That was my first thought, but isn't choloform really unpredictable, given the delivery method?
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  #7  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:04 PM
Birger_Jari Birger_Jari is offline
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gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid(GHB)

Slip it into a drink at a party. As for narcotics, Morphine is a classic.
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:10 PM
JoeH2O JoeH2O is offline
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Any opioid is going to do the trick - just have to be careful with the strong ones because they suppress the respiration of you subject.

If he can get hold of some fentanyl, he can knock anyone put almost instantly.
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  #9  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:20 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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So what happens when you bring somebody into a hospital and all you know is that he was knocked out with some drug and isn't waking up, skin cold and clammy, breathing shallow, etc.? What do they do? Is it easier if they know what drug it was (like with snake antivenin?)


ETA - Fentanyl wears off too quickly, doesn't it?

Last edited by Zsofia; 06-24-2010 at 02:25 PM..
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  #10  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:27 PM
lazybratsche lazybratsche is online now
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There are any number of anesthetics that would do -- barbiturates like pentobarbital, or ketamine. Most will induce unconsciousness within seconds if injected intravenously, though it'll be slower with an intramuscular shot (random jab to the arm). They're all deadly at high enough doses, and barbiturates are used to euthanize animals. Dosing is a bit tricky, especially in your scenario since barbiturates interact very strongly with alcohol, so a dose that would safely knockout a sober victim would kill someone that just stumbled out of a bar. Barbiturates used to be fairly common recreational drugs, though not in injectable forms.
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  #11  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:28 PM
Birger_Jari Birger_Jari is offline
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They would look at common symptoms in order to try and find out what general group the drug would belong to, and then they would carry out tests.

Just an educated guess. If I were you I would look up general hospital procedure for dealing with something like that.
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  #12  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:30 PM
Nature's Call Nature's Call is offline
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Paging Dexter Morgan...
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  #13  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:33 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Any ideas on how long treatment for that sort of thing takes? (Minutes, hours, weeks?) I know there are, for example, specific counteractive drugs they give people with morphine overdoses - how long before the victim regains consciousness?
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:36 PM
Birger_Jari Birger_Jari is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Any ideas on how long treatment for that sort of thing takes? (Minutes, hours, weeks?) I know there are, for example, specific counteractive drugs they give people with morphine overdoses - how long before the victim regains consciousness?
Well that would depend on how much of the drug they ingested...
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:45 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Almost, but not quite, enough to kill him, duh. Not too too much, since I need some time to work. It would be good if he could talk to the cops within a few hours, and I don't want to have it be totally unrealistic.
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  #16  
Old 06-24-2010, 02:51 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Realized that may have sounded confusing - my killer usually does this to women, but he ends up having to knock out a man (big, tall dude) in a hurry. Doesn't really like having to kill him, so instead of chopping him up like the women he just gives him more of whatever he knocked him out with so he can kind of work the self-denial option. I need him to be knocked out and getting worse for several hours before I can get him to the hospital, but then it would be nice if he could talk to the cops pretty soon after.
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  #17  
Old 06-24-2010, 03:31 PM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Realized that may have sounded confusing - my killer usually does this to women, but he ends up having to knock out a man (big, tall dude) in a hurry. Doesn't really like having to kill him, so instead of chopping him up like the women he just gives him more of whatever he knocked him out with so he can kind of work the self-denial option. I need him to be knocked out and getting worse for several hours before I can get him to the hospital, but then it would be nice if he could talk to the cops pretty soon after.
Would long-term liver damage upset the story/sequel options?
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  #18  
Old 06-24-2010, 03:34 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Yes, rather. It's unattractive in a love interest.
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  #19  
Old 06-24-2010, 05:18 PM
aldiboronti aldiboronti is offline
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The traditional Mickey Finn beloved of crime writers in the 40s and 50s was chloral hydrate. I had this drug prescribed long ago and it is a powerful sleep-inducer. It would never take effect instantly though, as in the movies, certainly not taken orally - figure about 20-30 minutes to knock someone out.

Last edited by aldiboronti; 06-24-2010 at 05:18 PM..
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  #20  
Old 06-24-2010, 06:09 PM
BrainGlutton BrainGlutton is offline
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If Roofies work for date rape, they should work for your purposes.
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  #21  
Old 06-24-2010, 06:50 PM
ThisSpaceForRent ThisSpaceForRent is offline
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Google Versed....
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  #22  
Old 06-24-2010, 07:04 PM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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You can still order ether and chloroform from industrial chemical suppliers. They don't sell to individuals, but I assume there's a warehouse somewhere that can be burgled. For that matter, if all you want to do is get the victim out of the way for awhile, why not just slip him Ambien?
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  #23  
Old 06-24-2010, 07:31 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
Almost, but not quite, enough to kill him, duh. Not too too much, since I need some time to work. It would be good if he could talk to the cops within a few hours, and I don't want to have it be totally unrealistic.
Narcan reverses the effects of opioid drugs (heroin, morphine, opium) in less than two minutes. So you could conceivably have a person nearly OD on an opioid, which would normally, in large doses, make someone sleepy, and keep 'em sleepy for quite a while. When you need the docs to wake him up, they administer a Narcan IV push "(or, if he's not breathing on his own, it can be given through the endotracheal tube), and 2 minutes later, your guy is talking rationally. It's possible that he might get wonky again, if he's been brought in early and the effect of the opiod outlasts that of the Narcan, but Narcan can then be administered again. Still, might make for an interesting plot development or two, if he seems rational, then isn't, then is again.
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  #24  
Old 06-25-2010, 02:27 AM
chorpler chorpler is offline
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Narcan reverses the effects of opioid drugs (heroin, morphine, opium) in less than two minutes. So you could conceivably have a person nearly OD on an opioid, which would normally, in large doses, make someone sleepy, and keep 'em sleepy for quite a while. When you need the docs to wake him up, they administer a Narcan IV push "(or, if he's not breathing on his own, it can be given through the endotracheal tube), and 2 minutes later, your guy is talking rationally. It's possible that he might get wonky again, if he's been brought in early and the effect of the opiod outlasts that of the Narcan, but Narcan can then be administered again. Still, might make for an interesting plot development or two, if he seems rational, then isn't, then is again.
Yep, opioids and naloxone are pretty perfect for the situation at hand. There are even experimental gaseous versions of opioids -- the Russian military used some kind of fentanyl-based gas in that theater hostage situation that ended up killing a bunch of people. And inhalation gets the drug to the brain even faster than intravenous injection. You might just have trouble getting a proper dose into him that way ... but you could make the guy woozy with a hit of gaseous fentanyl, then knock him out with an IV injection of morphine, heroin, or fentanyl once he's nice and incapacitated. Then, once he's actually out, give him another injection of a long-lasting opioid like methadone to keep the effects going for hours and hours.

And then, when he's at the hospital, an injection of Narcan (aka naloxone) and he's awake and lucid within a minute or so as the naloxone displaces the opioids on his receptors ... but he's probably freaked out as hell wondering what happened and where he is, and possibly suffering from injuries from lying still for hours.

ETA: Oh, and then, since methadone lasts for 8-12 hours but naloxone wears off in about 30-60 minutes, have him start getting whacked-out and goofy and passing out again as the police are talking to him, until the doctors realize he needs another injection of naloxone.

Last edited by chorpler; 06-25-2010 at 02:30 AM..
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  #25  
Old 06-25-2010, 02:51 AM
si_blakely si_blakely is offline
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Originally Posted by chorpler View Post
Yep, opioids and naloxone are pretty perfect for the situation at hand. There are even experimental gaseous versions of opioids -- the Russian military used some kind of fentanyl-based gas in that theater hostage situation that ended up killing a bunch of people.
I was going to mention this - the problem is that the russian military was so secretive about the knockout gas that they did not tell the hospitals what they had used. Many of those who died could have been saved with a little bit more information (and a shot of naloxone).

Si

Last edited by si_blakely; 06-25-2010 at 02:51 AM.. Reason: typo
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  #26  
Old 06-25-2010, 12:18 PM
BrotherCadfael BrotherCadfael is offline
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If ever a thread cried out for the [need answer fast] tag.....
My exact thought!
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  #27  
Old 06-25-2010, 12:56 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Don't know how practical this is, but diethyl - ether is readily available as a starting fluid for engines. I think its the same thing as the anaesthetic.
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  #28  
Old 06-25-2010, 03:51 PM
moldybread moldybread is offline
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You could introduce him to my high school calc. teacher. He was great at putting anyone to sleep.

But seriously, I once took a zanbar and was completely and utterly wasted for about five hours. I still to this day cannot remember anything that happened during that time. I was told I basically was in a zombified state. I would answer questions, after being pushed or shaken and would fall if I tried to move. Apparently we were pulled over on the way home and the cop asked what was wrong with me. They told him I was just sleeping off a hangover. I remember none of it. Perhaps your character could maybe dose his victims with more than one zanbar? It will definitely put them out of comission for a while.
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  #29  
Old 06-25-2010, 04:30 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is offline
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Originally Posted by Nature's Call View Post
Paging Dexter Morgan...
You know, that was my first thought, too, and I looked up the drug he supposedly used on his victims. Unfortunately, I don't think he could use the animal tranquilizer named on the show, etorphine hydrochloride, on humans in reality:
Quote:
Etorphine (Immobilon or M99) is a semi-synthetic opioid possessing an analgesic potency approximately 1,000-3,000 times that of morphine....

Etorphine is often used to immobilize elephants and other large mammals. Etorphine is only available legally for veterinary use and is strictly governed by law. Diprenorphine (M5050) is an opioid receptor antagonist that can be administered in proportion to the amount of etorphine used (1.3 times) to reverse its effects. Veterinary-strength etorphine is fatal to humans; one drop on the skin can cause death within a few minutes. For this reason the package as supplied to vets always includes the human antidote as well as Revivon.
I'm actually kind of awed that there's a substance so deadly that it can kill you with a single drop on your skin. That's hardcore.
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  #30  
Old 06-25-2010, 04:34 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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(zanbar = xanax, for us old fogeys playing along at home)
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  #31  
Old 06-25-2010, 04:36 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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I've only used morphine as a veterinary technician, and only with dogs. It universally makes them puke. Dangerous if the vomiting happens while passed out. Can anyone verify whether the extreme nausea happens in people? That might be a reason not to use it as a knockout drug if asphyxiation and aspiration pneumonia are not on the list of desirable outcomes!
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  #32  
Old 06-25-2010, 04:41 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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What I can find about ether indicates it is difficult to cause an overdose, and it can be easily applied, probably through a soaked piece of cloth held over the mouth and nose in the way chloroform is portrayed in the movies. Sounds like you want something with an antidote for plot purposes though. One of the best scenes in Pulp Fiction was giving the antidote to Uma, didn't do much plot wise, but entertaining.
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  #33  
Old 06-25-2010, 08:18 PM
toodlepip toodlepip is offline
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Originally Posted by Max Torque View Post
You know, that was my first thought, too, and I looked up the drug he supposedly used on his victims. Unfortunately, I don't think he could use the animal tranquilizer named on the show, etorphine hydrochloride, on humans in reality:

I'm actually kind of awed that there's a substance so deadly that it can kill you with a single drop on your skin. That's hardcore.
You're right, Immobilon would be no use for the scenario in the OP's book.

I used to use Large Animal Immobilon in horses, it's great for field anaesthesia. They go down quickly, and they stay down till you give the reversing agent, then they're on their feet with hardly a wobble. A few years ago it became more difficult to get hold of, but we'd mostly stopped using the stuff by then anyway, we just didn't feel we could justify the risk and the hassle anymore. A drop on your skin or mucous membranes, even if washed off, could be fatal. We had to work in pairs, you need someone present who is capable of giving you an IV injection of the antidote, which has to be ready in a syringe before you even think about preparing the Immobilon. Naloxone will keep you alive for 2-3 minutes. If you're lucky, you've remembered to pack enough for a few doses, and this will hopefully keep you going till the ambulance arrives. Worst case scenario, you'd have to use Revivon, the animal reversing agent. This drug in itself is hallucinogenic to the point where some survivors have said death would have been preferable.
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  #34  
Old 06-26-2010, 04:32 AM
irishgirl irishgirl is offline
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I'd use Midazolam (Versed).
It comes in an oral solution that is commonly used to treat epileptic seizures in children. To stop a seizure in a child you squirt the dose into the mouth and it is absorbed from the oral mucosa, the child doesn't even need to swallow it. It is quite easy to OD on and although their is an antidote (flumazenil) it isn't as straight forward as narcan.
It also comes in a solution you can inject as well- it is used commonly for twilight anaesthesia and sedation. It has an amnesic effect so you don't even have to be out cold in order to not remember what happened.

Chloral hydrate is used a lot with kids- but it does cause paradoxical excitation in a significant proportion- which may be a positive plot point (victim fights back).
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