February 27th, 2007
A psychologist reader responds to this morning post of Jeff Stein’s article Padilla Case Opens Old Questions on CIA ‘Truth Serums’.
But you know what always surprises when I hear this story, being someone in the drug and addictions field myself, is the sort of naivete of Padilla’s attorneys to say they think he was injected with PCP or LSD.
It would sort of be like a NUCLEAR WEAPON hitting a city and saying, we know it must be an enormous amount of DYNAMITE that they used.”
But we can’t figure out why they would even try using dynamite because it never produces an explosion that big.
The attorneys and everyone else in this case seem to have no scientific sense or even creative thinking about how drugs have evolved, how much they develop each decade, particularly with military funding. No one in the military is using LSD or PCP–unless it is just some soldier who snuck it on the ship–I guess that’s possible. Even ecstasy and methamphetamine are child’s play with what the government is likely to have at its disposal. The assumption is also that the government is giving detainees one drug at a time rather than combinations and sequences of far more advanced drugs.
Oxytocin that’s involved in natural infant attachment to the mother is a hormone that has been found to increase trust in adult research participants and could be used in conjunction with sensation producing euphorics like ecstasy to produce a situation far more conducive to interrogations than LSD or PCP. It is far more targeted but any subjective description from someone who was given this combination of these things a month before would make it sound like a typical hallucinogen. But the right combinations and the right sequences and how they interact with the procedures in the army field manual are probably what’s key and exactly what the military wants to test, and may be testing.
So I think we should not accept this argument that oh the government would never try to use truth serums because our research from 4 decades ago says they’re not effective. It comes back to our efficacy question. It may not be effective yet, but that’s not going to stop them from trying.
I guess in this whole thing I am guilty of underestimating the government’s savvy and dedication to science to increase their arsenal to win their “war”.