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Narco Analysis

2558 words - 11 pages

- M. Sivananda Reddy, SP, Cyber Crimes, CID.

Narcoanalysis: Psychotherapy conducted while the patient is in a sleeplike state induced by barbiturates or other drugs, especially as a means of r eleasing r epr essed feelings, thoughts, or memories. Its use is restricted to circumstances when there is a compelling, immediate need for a patient's responses. Truth serum: It is a barbiturate or drug administered in milder doses to make the recipient become very communicative and share his thoughts without hesitation. The recipient is likely to lose his inhibition, and therefore he is more likely to tell the truth. The search for effective aids to interrogation is ...view middle of the document...

The police investigator is concerned with empirical truth that may be used against the suspect, and therefore almost solely with probative truth: the usefulness of the suspect's revelations depends ultimately on their acceptance as evidence by a court of law. The psychiatrist, on the other hand, using the same "truth" drugs in diagnosis and treatment of the mentally ill, is primarily concer ned with psychological truth or psychological reality rather than empirical fact. A patient's aberrations are reality for him at the time they occur, and an accurate account of these fantasies and delusions, rather than reliable recollection of past events, can be the key to recovery. HISTORY In 1922, it occurred to Robert House, a Dallas, Texas obstetrician, that a similar technique used at the time of child birth might be employed in the interrogation of suspected criminals, and he arranged to interview under scopolamine, two prisoners in the Dallas county jail whose guilt seemed clearly confirmed. Under the drug, both men denied the charges on which they were held, and both, upon trial, were found not guilty. Enthusiastic at this success, House concluded that a patient under the influence of scopolamine "cannot create a lie… and there is no power to think or reason." His experiment and this conclusion attracted wide attention, and the idea of a "truth" drug was thus launched upon the public consciousness. The phrase "truth serum" is believed to have appeared first in a


news report of House's experiment in the Los Angeles Record, sometime in 1922. House resisted the term for a while but eventually came to employ it regularly himself. Because of a number of undesirable side ef fects, scopolamine was shortly disqualified as a "truth" drug. Among the most disabling of the side effects are hallucinations, disturbed perception, somnolence, and physiological phenomena such as headache, rapid heart, and blurred vision, which distract the subject from the central purpose of the interview. At about this time police of ficials, still attracted by the possibility that drugs might help in the interrogation of suspects and witnesses, turned to a class of depressant drugs known as the barbiturates. By 1935 Clar ence W. Muehlberger, head of the Michigan Crime Detection Laboratory at East Lansing, was using barbiturates on reluctant suspects, though police work, continued to be hampered by the courts' rejection of drug-induced confessions except in a few carefully cir cumscribed instances. CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES Gerson and Victoroff conducted 'amytal' interviews with 17 neuropsychiatry patients, soldiers who had charges against them, at Tilton General Hospital, Fort Dix. First they were interviewed without amytal by a psychiatrist, who, neither ignoring nor stressing their situation as prisoners or suspects under scrutiny, urged each of them to discuss his social and family background, his army career, and his version of the charges pending against...

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