Tag Archives: paralytic

Q&A: Alcohol

Apropos of the ask on paralytic toxins, are there any substances that could be used as a nonlethal “paralytic” against a healthy human target? That, perhaps, interfere with coordination enough to immobilize a person but without stopping crucial body functions? Or does that just bring is back to typical tranquilizers? And, you’ve probably answered this before, but how fast do those work?

Well, you can get them drunk. Alcohol and most mild sedatives can impair someone without actually putting them under. There is an element of risk, but it’s not particularly pronounced. (Unless you’re combining them, in which case things can turn really nasty, fast.) Usually the hard part is when someone wants to actually put someone under, or when they want to administer this stuff covertly via a dart.

Most tranquilizers take about 30 minutes to kick in (with a pretty massive margin for error based on the subject’s metabolism.) Again, this isn’t much of a problem when you’re dealing with a bear wandering around the subdivision, but doesn’t really lend itself to someone sneaking around.

General anesthesia is an exception to this. In that case you’re looking at an onset of under a minute. But, as we’ve discussed before, the problem with anesthesia is, you need someone there monitoring the subject’s vitals to adjust the dosage and keep them alive.


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I’ve been following along with those anons and Curare comes to mind.

Yeah, I’ll be honest, I’m not actually sure which point you’re making. Curare is incredibly lethal stuff. When it was first discovered in South America, the locals were using it to poison their arrows.

Curare is a paralytic that attacks the respiratory system. It has modern medical uses when performing surgery on the lungs, and as a muscle relaxant before surgery. (Which, incidentally means, both of us might have been dosed with this at one time or another in our lives.)

It’s also used as an anticonvulsant when treating tetanus, and to treat spastic paralysis when surgically correcting some breaks and dislocations.

There isn’t actually an antidote, but, in a medical environment, the patient can be put on a respirator and will recover without ill effects. Near as I can tell, there isn’t even really a “safe” dosage. It seems to be you either put the victim on a respirator or you notify the next of kin.

Here’s the reason why I’m not sure what point you’re making, curare won’t put you under. It will paralyze the victim, but if they survive, they’ll remember the entire ordeal. If the victim dies, it will be from asphyxiation because the toxin kept them from breathing, they’ll also be awake and aware for the experience… In a combat, it’s for those times you don’t trust an arrow to be lethal enough, and need to make sure whoever your shooting is extra dead.