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Old 04-08-2011, 06:13 AM   #1
J Whisketosky
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Question Best chemical agent to knock someone out?

So it sounds simple, and obvious: chloroform, duh! However, I'm reading Stephen King's Misery, and King's character Sheldon mentions how hard it is to find chloroform.

Ironically, my character needed a knocking out agent, but he's not in the medical field and doesn't know anyone in the medical field. I spoke to an X-ray tech friend of mine and my nurse sister, and both have said that chloroform is no longer readily available in drug stores, or even online. It's harder to get.

What's a simple agent that would knock someone out without doing any damage that's easily found in a drug store or supermarket?
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:25 AM   #2
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Ether...
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Old 04-08-2011, 06:53 AM   #3
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I looked a bit and still only found ether. a choke hold from behind might do it too...
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:29 AM   #4
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Well, research chemists buy chloroform from aldritch, but I doubt they would sell it to just anyone.

Honestly, and I hate saying this, but it would be so easy to steal chloroform from the Chemistry department of a University if you know where to look.
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:53 AM   #5
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by defyalllogic View Post
I looked a bit and still only found ether. a choke hold from behind might do it too...
be a bit temporary...
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:07 PM   #7
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Does your MC know any undergrad chemistry students?
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:33 PM   #8
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I cant think of anything that is easily and legally available that can be used to sedate someone against their wishes.
Does the drug have to be inhaled? What about something injectable, which could be brought on the street if not over the counter? Alternative sources might be a vet surgery, an ambulance or a nursing home.
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Old 04-08-2011, 01:36 PM   #9
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Whisketosky View Post

What's a simple agent that would knock someone out without doing any damage that's easily found in a drug store or supermarket?
What about ether, which is readily available at auto parts stores (and even WalMart) as "Starting Fluid."

Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, and I don't even play one on TV, so don't try this at home, based on my say-so!!
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Old 04-08-2011, 09:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAP View Post
Well, research chemists buy chloroform from aldritch, but I doubt they would sell it to just anyone.

Honestly, and I hate saying this, but it would be so easy to steal chloroform from the Chemistry department of a University if you know where to look.
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Does your MC know any undergrad chemistry students?
This. Anybody who's been in a university chemistry or biology lab and has any bit of familiarity with labs could get exactly they needed.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:02 AM   #12
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Hmmm, I hadn't thought of that. My character works for the planning division of a global construction company. The company often takes on high end projects...so if the local university wanted to expand their Organic Chem lab...yeah, he'd be in there first to see the basic outlay and figure out how to improve it...

Thanks guys. I'd already written the scene where he used the chloroform, but I realized he'd need a steady supply.

I do like the suggestion about the gym socks though...some of those are definitely rank enough to make you pass out!
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:28 AM   #13
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:01 AM   #14
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Remember that both ether and chloroform will wear off fairly quickly (minutes) when the person stops breathing the fumes.

Of the two, ether is much safer. It is difficult to over-sedate someone with it, although vomiting afterward is very common. Chloroform is much more dangerous. The depth of sedation/anesthesia is unpredictable and it is toxic to the liver. This is why physicians quickly switched to ether from chloroform in the 19th century. Chloroform was the first inhaled anesthetic agent used.
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Old 04-09-2011, 03:19 AM   #15
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Thanks for the warning about chloroform...but...honestly...she's going to die in the next few minutes of the scene anyway, so...I'm not sure how worried I should be about the liver failure. It might become important later on though, so I definitely appreciate it.
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAP View Post
Well, research chemists buy chloroform from aldritch, but I doubt they would sell it to just anyone.

Honestly, and I hate saying this, but it would be so easy to steal chloroform from the Chemistry department of a University if you know where to look.
Or the storage cabinet of a high school which hasn't been cleaned out in 30+ years. I found such horrible stuff in my (junior high!) lab storage area when I was moved from one room to a larger room. Stuff that went back to the 1950's. Stuff that couldn't be moved for fear the bottoms of cans would just come off. Stuff that fellow science teacher friends (in other towns) said: OMG WTF That shouldn't be there!

A hazardous waste team finally came in (at mine and my dept. head's insistence when I brought it to her attention.)

Seriously, I'd bet there's still stuff in old chem. storage rooms around the country in high schools, colleges and hospitals that have been shut down, and so on. Old drugstores, factories and warehouses, too. The world is full of old buildings that were just shut down and all the dangerous crap which was in them is still there.
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:23 AM   #17
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That is an interesting revelation, jaksen.

I will have to seek out these facilities. You know, to make sure they're safe for others, of course.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:10 AM   #18
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Sorry if this reply is late, but I thought I'd chime in with something. I read somewhere about chloral hydrate, "knockout drops"--the stuff people drop in other people's drinks, haha. Of course this would require giving the person a drink. On the other hand, I don't know how effective it is or how easily one can find the stuff (though according to Wikipedia, it's illegal without a prescription). There are always over-the-counter sleeping pills :P
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:48 AM   #19
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Chloral hydrate is really bitter, difficult to disguise
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:31 PM   #20
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In case of knockout drops: Maybe you can use Gammma-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB)? Your character would have to put it into a drink also, but it starts to take hold after 15 minutes already.
It's colourless and odourless and the taste is only somewhat salty.

If your character can inject something, you could use propofol. It takes only a few seconds for people to pass out, but I guess if your protagonist is neiter something like a doctor (anesthesist) nor someone who is experienced with drugs, it is not realistic that he knows how to do it and how not to overdose. If overdosed, the victim will stop breathing and die. So he'd have at least to know someone who can tell him how to use it.

Both substances are not legally available, but I guess the character could get it if he wants... I mean, drugs are illegal, but people always get their drugs from anywhere. Both of therse substances are used as drugs so they should be available from a drug dealer, I guess?
Propofol is also one of the most common anaesthetics, so if the character has some contact with people who work in a hospital or something, that should work as well.
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:45 PM   #21
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This thread is both fascinating and slightly alarming.
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