Many readers would have doubtless known about the sensational mass murder case currently under investigation in New Delhi, India. A wealthy business man and his man-servant are accused of luring street children into their house and killing them after sexual abuse. The thing that piqued my interest in the media frenzy around this case is the use of truth serum in an attempt to extract confessions from the suspects.
The first thing that came to mind was a drug which miraculously makes one tell the truth. This sounds like something straight out of a Hollywood B-grade movie. However this could not be further from the ……..er…….truth (pun intended). The so-called truth serum is nothing more than thiopental sodium (from a group of chemicals called barbiturates) which is a common drug employed by anesthetist to put their patients ‘under’ before a surgical procedure. To make it even less exotic is the fact that its main function in an interrogation is to make the subject lose his or her inhibition so that he/she may be more forthcoming. This however does not make him or her lose self control. The subject will still be able to chose what they want to tell the interrogator. In the end they may only be very truthful about their lies!