‘Devil’s breath’ aka scopolamine: can it really zombify you? | Society | The Guardian
It is “horrible stuff”, says Curran. “When I used to give it to people [in experiments], they hated it – it makes your mouth really dry, it makes your pupils constrict. Certainly high doses would be completely incapacitating.” And does it remove free will? “It would completely zonk you out,” says Curran, “ but I don’t know about removing free will. It incapacitates you because you’d feel so drowsy, you wouldn’t remember what was going on..”
Scopolamine has marked amnesic effects, and is used in Alzheimer’s research. Mostly though, it is used at very low doses to treat motion sickness, usually though a transdermal patch.
It is one of those drugs with a rich backstory. It is said to be one of the first “truth serums”. In the early 20th century, it was administered by some doctors as a pain-relief drug – or rather a drug that led to the forgetting of pain – in childbirth until one obstetrician noticed how women who had been given it answered candidly to questions; he later wondered if it could be used when questioning people charged with crimes. It was used as evidence in some trials, but dubiously.