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A '''truth drug''' (or '''truth serum''') is a [[Psychoactive drug|drug]] used for the purposes of obtaining accurate information from an unwilling subject, most often by a police, intelligence, or military organization on a prisoner. Effective truth drugs are mostly fictional, though some drugs have been shown to be effective in lowering the resistance (but sometimes also reliability) of an interrogated person.
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A '''truth drug''' or '''truth serum''' is a [[psychoactive medication]] used to obtain information from subjects who are unable or unwilling to provide it otherwise. The unethical use of truth drugs is classified as a form of [[torture]] according to international law.<ref>Brugger W: May governments ever use torture? ''Am J Compar Law'' 2000; 48: 661&ndash;678.</ref>
   
==Real-world use==
 
===Substances===
 
Drugs used for this purpose have included [[ethanol]], [[scopolamine]], and the [[anesthesia|anaesthetic]] induction agent [[sodium thiopental]] (more commonly known as sodium pentothal); all [[sedative]]s that interfere particularly with judgment and higher cognitive function. While [[grain alcohol|grain alcohol (ethanol)]] is used for this purpose by many individuals in a more innocent sense, it is used by professionals as well. A book by a former [[Soviet Union|Soviet]] [[KGB]] officer based in Washington details the use of near-pure ethanol to verify that a Soviet agent was not compromised by U.S. [[counterintelligence]] services.<ref>''Washington station: my life as a KGB spy in America'' - Shvets, Yuri B; Simon & Schuster, New York, 1994</ref>
 
   
===Reliability===
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==Use in clinical practice==
Information obtained by publicly-disclosed truth drugs has been shown to be highly unreliable, with subjects apparently freely mixing fact and fantasy. Much of the claimed effect relies on the ''belief'' of the subject that they cannot tell a lie while under the influence of the drug.
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However, they are properly and productively utilised in the evaluation of [[psychotic]] patients in the practice of [[psychiatry]].<ref>Naples M, Hackett TP: The amytal interview: history and current uses. ''Psychosomatics'' 1978; 19: 98&ndash;105.</ref> That application was first documented by Dr. [[William Bleckwenn]] in 1930,<ref>Bleckwenn WJ: Sodium amytal in certain nervous and mental conditions. ''Wis Med'' J 1930; 29: 693&ndash;696.</ref> and it still has selected uses today. In the latter context, the controlled administration of intravenous hypnotic medications is called "[[narcosynthesis]]" or "narcoanalysis." It may be used to procure diagnostically—or therapeutically—vital information, and to provide patients with a functional respite from [[catatonia]] or [[mania]].<ref>Tollefson GD: The amobarbital interview in the differential diagnosis of catatonia. ''Psychosomatics'' 1982; 23: 437&ndash;438.</ref><ref>Bleckwenn WJ: Production of sleep and rest in psychotic cases. ''Arch Neurol Psychiatry'' 1930; 24: 365&ndash;375.</ref>
   
==References==
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== Active chemical substances ==
<references/>
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[[Image:Amobarbital.svg|thumbnail|right|'''[[Amobarbital]], one of chemical compounds that can be used as a "truth drug"''']]
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[[Sedative]]s or [[hypnotic]]s that alter higher cognitive function include [[ethanol]], [[scopolamine]], [[3-quinuclidinyl benzilate]], [[temazepam]], and various [[barbiturates]] including [[sodium thiopental]] (commonly known as sodium pentothal) and sodium amytal ([[amobarbital]]) (see figure at right).<ref>Anonymous: Barbiturates. ''http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/A-Ce/Barbiturates.html'', Accessed 9-21-2009.</ref>
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== Reliability ==
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According to prevailing medical thought, information obtained under the influence of intravenously-administered [[sodium amytal]] can be unreliable; subjects may mix fact and fantasy in that context.<ref>''Op cit''., Ref. 2</ref> Skeptics imply that much of the claimed effect of the drug relies on the belief of the subject that he or she cannot tell a lie while under its influence.<ref>Redlich FC, Ravitz LJ, Dession GH: Narcoanalysis and truth. ''Am J Psychiatry'' 1951; 107: 586&ndash;593.</ref><ref>Mann J: The use of sodium amobarbital in psychiatry. ''Ohio State Med J'' 1969; 65: 700&ndash;702.</ref> Some observers also feel that amobarbital does not increase truth-telling, but merely increases talking; hence, both truth and fabrication are more likely to be revealed in that construct.<ref>Piper A Jr: 'Truth serum' and 'recovered memories' of sexual abuse: a review of the evidence. '' J Psychiatry & Law'' 1993: 3: 447&ndash;471.</ref>
   
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
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* [[Microexpression]]
 
* [[Microexpression]]
 
* [[Project MKULTRA|MKULTRA]]
 
* [[Project MKULTRA|MKULTRA]]
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==References==
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<references/>
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==External links==
 
==External links==
* ''[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/19/AR2006111900891_pf.html Some Believe 'Truth Serums' Will Come Back]'' - Brown, David; [[The Washington Post]], Monday 20 November 2006; page A08
 
   
 
[[Category:Mind control]]
 
[[Category:Mind control]]

Latest revision as of 12:17, April 3, 2011

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A truth drug or truth serum is a psychoactive medication used to obtain information from subjects who are unable or unwilling to provide it otherwise. The unethical use of truth drugs is classified as a form of torture according to international law.[1]


Use in clinical practiceEdit

However, they are properly and productively utilised in the evaluation of psychotic patients in the practice of psychiatry.[2] That application was first documented by Dr. William Bleckwenn in 1930,[3] and it still has selected uses today. In the latter context, the controlled administration of intravenous hypnotic medications is called "narcosynthesis" or "narcoanalysis." It may be used to procure diagnostically—or therapeutically—vital information, and to provide patients with a functional respite from catatonia or mania.[4][5]

Active chemical substances Edit

File:Amobarbital.svg

Sedatives or hypnotics that alter higher cognitive function include ethanol, scopolamine, 3-quinuclidinyl benzilate, temazepam, and various barbiturates including sodium thiopental (commonly known as sodium pentothal) and sodium amytal (amobarbital) (see figure at right).[6]

Reliability Edit

According to prevailing medical thought, information obtained under the influence of intravenously-administered sodium amytal can be unreliable; subjects may mix fact and fantasy in that context.[7] Skeptics imply that much of the claimed effect of the drug relies on the belief of the subject that he or she cannot tell a lie while under its influence.[8][9] Some observers also feel that amobarbital does not increase truth-telling, but merely increases talking; hence, both truth and fabrication are more likely to be revealed in that construct.[10]

See alsoEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. Brugger W: May governments ever use torture? Am J Compar Law 2000; 48: 661–678.
  2. Naples M, Hackett TP: The amytal interview: history and current uses. Psychosomatics 1978; 19: 98–105.
  3. Bleckwenn WJ: Sodium amytal in certain nervous and mental conditions. Wis Med J 1930; 29: 693–696.
  4. Tollefson GD: The amobarbital interview in the differential diagnosis of catatonia. Psychosomatics 1982; 23: 437–438.
  5. Bleckwenn WJ: Production of sleep and rest in psychotic cases. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1930; 24: 365–375.
  6. Anonymous: Barbiturates. http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/A-Ce/Barbiturates.html, Accessed 9-21-2009.
  7. Op cit., Ref. 2
  8. Redlich FC, Ravitz LJ, Dession GH: Narcoanalysis and truth. Am J Psychiatry 1951; 107: 586–593.
  9. Mann J: The use of sodium amobarbital in psychiatry. Ohio State Med J 1969; 65: 700–702.
  10. Piper A Jr: 'Truth serum' and 'recovered memories' of sexual abuse: a review of the evidence. J Psychiatry & Law 1993: 3: 447–471.


External linksEdit

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