It goes back to the times of World War I. Dr. Robert House documented what happened to women in labor when administering scopolamine. It was a simple pain reliever, but it made them talk more about the account. Once the effect passed, it was usual that only memory gaps remain. Shortly after, the possibility that this was used to induce people to tell the truth was considered. But does the truth serum really work?
In 1931 the American Journal of Police Science published an article about it. He analyzed the possible uses of scopolamine at the judicial level. In the beginning it was used to prove the innocence of the accused. In this way, if under the pharmacological effects they admitted their innocence, it was considered valid as a legal argument.
The famous sodium pentotal
It is the sodium pentotal or thiopentate, the scientific name of the so-called "serum of truth." It is a drug derived from barbituric acid. He was a very popular hypnotic in the mid-twentieth century among people who had trouble sleeping. In 1934 the sodium pentotal was used as an inducing agent of anesthesia in surgical interventions. This was prior to other drugs. Sodium pentotal can be administered in our body intravenously or intramuscularly.
After administration, the scenario so desired by the "interrogators" only lasts between five and ten minutes. Time during which our brain does not censor the conversation before possible unwelcome questions. As with scopolamine, when the pharmacological effect disappeared, the subject was unable to recall specific aspects of the conversation.
During World War II some military doctors familiar with these drugs used it. They specialized in interrogations to extract privileged information from prisoners.
It puts great confidence in the serum of truth. But the truth is that its reliability is far from reaching one hundred percent results. It is impossible to know with absolute certainty if the person under "chemical control" is truthfully answering the questions posed.
Scientists have observed that there are a number of factors that can contribute to increasing its effectiveness. On the one hand, the age of the patients. On the other, cognitive dysfunction, the existence of a certain cognitive decline facilitates disinhibition.
Thiopentotate is not an innocuous drug, at high doses it can cause cardiorespiratory arrest. In some North American states it has been used for a long time to execute the death row inmates. The chemical formula included sodium pentotal, potassium chloride and pancuronium bromide. A preparation that quickly induced a state of coma followed by the death of the inmate.