The Idea Of Truth Serums, Or Mind-Altering Drugs Used To Draw Out The Facts From People, Traces Back To The Start Of The Twentieth Century

Evrymmnt - - illustrative purposes only

Humans are prone to lying when we think it’ll benefit us in some way. Even toddlers are known for spitting out falsehoods when they want to appease their parents.

The average person is also not very adept at determining when someone is lying to them. Believe it or not, professionals who are specially trained to sniff out lies sometimes fall for webs of deception.

We all know that humans tend to tell the truth when under the influence. A drunken slip of the tongue spills deep, dark secrets that would have never seen the light of day otherwise. That’s where the idea of “truth serum” comes from.

Since the era of the Roman Empire, people have tried to extract truthful statements from each other with the most basic of techniques—wine. However, the concept of truth serums didn’t emerge until the 20th century. Truth serums refer to various mind-altering drugs that are used to draw out the truth from people.

The first drug to be approved as a truth serum was scopolamine. At the time, it was widely used as an anesthetic for childbirth, lulling patients to sleep and taking away the pain. An obstetrician from Texas named Dr. Robert House discovered its truth-inducing properties during a birth in 1916.

When he asked the husband to bring him a scale to weigh the newborn baby, the husband was unable to find it. Shockingly, the wife provided directions to the scale’s location while still fully anesthetized.

After conducting numerous experiments, Dr. House believed that once his patients ingested scopolamine, they would tell the truth because the drug inhibited them from using their reasoning abilities.

Some were skeptical of Dr. House’s claims, but others embraced the discovery. New substances similar to scopolamine were studied. Some of the most notable ones included barbiturates like sodium amytal and sodium pentothal.

During World War Two, these drugs were often administered for psychiatric purposes. They could cause the heart rate to decrease and put users into a state of relaxation. Eventually, truth-inducing substances became popular with law enforcement for criminal interrogations.

Evrymmnt – – illustrative purposes only

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