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-   -   How easy would it be for kidnappers to buy Chloroform? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=532824)

constanze 09-20-2009 05:17 PM

How easy would it be for kidnappers to buy Chloroform?
 
It's one of the staples of countless movies and books that the bad guys carry a dark brown glass bottle with chloroform, wet down a piece of cloth and use it stupefy their kidnapping victim*. Now, secret intelligence agents, spys and so on could be supplied by their organisation, but the standard bad guy, can he simply walk into the next pharmacy/ drug store and buy a bottle, or would the pharmacist consider any non-chemist a potiental kidnapper and take down his name and adress?

Or would he have to pretend to be a chemist and order it from a chemist supply company? Would they demand any proof of identity?

Because wikipedia says that although chloroform is no longer used in medicine as aesthetic as it was origrinally introduced, because of the liver damage and other problems, it's still widely used as solvent and for help in manufacturing certain compounds. But that's chemical labs with a certain reputation.

Similar, some materials are both poison and useful for many chemical reactions, so chemists who sell it record it in a special book and demand proof of identity (Arsenic was used for developing photos, which is a large point in several UK crime novels before WWII).

* Apparently, neither the speed nor the length of knock-out which are shown are true to life, but artistic license, similar to being injected with a knock-out medicine works instantly on TV , but takes up to 20 minutes in real life.

HorseloverFat 09-20-2009 05:58 PM

The problem here is that most kidnappers arent murderers and would never touch the stuff. Too little and nothing happens but the victim screaming. Too much and he dies. The idea that an average criminal can just pour it on some gauze and put it over someone's face so that person just passes out is a hollywood exaggeration.

Superfluous Parentheses 09-20-2009 06:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by constanze (Post 11576915)
* Apparently, neither the speed nor the length of knock-out which are shown are true to life, but artistic license, similar to being injected with a knock-out medicine works instantly on TV , but takes up to 20 minutes in real life.

Also, it appears that it's fairly easy to overdose, killing the victim, which would mess things up a bit, I imagine.

The dutch wiki page on chloroform claims it's possible for "hobbyists" to create it out of bleach and aceton. So if you can't get it directly, the ingredients at least can be easily obtained.

Zsofia 09-20-2009 06:41 PM

My boyfriend has bought ether for his wet plate photography hobby, which has a similar history. I believe that's the one chemical he had to source locally rather than buy online, but he got it with no trouble.

salinqmind 09-20-2009 07:20 PM

Yes, but where does one buy chloroform? Or ether? (Nothing to do with anything but I once read a historical novel set in England in the 1700's and the heroine went into a pharmacy to buy arsenic. She had to give her name and I think sign for it, but it was up to the pharmacist's discretion as to whether she was 'of good character' and so able to buy it at all.)

Chlorforming a kidnap victim = tapping someone on the head whereupon they fall into a convenient deep sleep for the duration, waking up with only a mild headache! Only in the movies.

picunurse 09-20-2009 09:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by constanze
similar to being injected with a knock-out medicine works instantly on TV , but takes up to 20 minutes in real life.

That depends on how it is injected. There are several drugs, when injected intravenously, will render one unconscious immediately. Michael Jackson's fav, Propofol comes to mind. Also, any of the injectable anesthetics cause immediate unconsciousness. "Now count backward from 100...100...99...................

Smeghead 09-20-2009 09:08 PM

I've got some in the lab.

Kansas Beekeeper 09-20-2009 09:25 PM

Car starting fluid, sold at any auto parts store or even Walmart, is about half diethyl ether, depending on quality.

horsetech 09-20-2009 10:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by picunurse (Post 11577448)
That depends on how it is injected. There are several drugs, when injected intravenously, will render one unconscious immediately. Michael Jackson's fav, Propofol comes to mind. Also, any of the injectable anesthetics cause immediate unconsciousness. "Now count backward from 100...100...99...................

Yeah, but usually knock-out drugs are depicted as being given IM.


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