James Holmes and the ethics of “truth serum”

7d9fmf James Holmes and the ethics of “truth serum”

7d9fmf James Holmes and the ethics of “truth serum”

The first thing to note about “truth serum” — the sort of substance that Colorado prosecutors have permission to use on Aurora shooter James Holmes should he plead insane — is that it has little to do with truth-telling.Judge William Sylvester did not in so many words grant to use of truth serum on Holmes, because truth serum is the stuff of Hogwarts and not juridical determinations. What Sylester granted was that a “narcoanalytic interview” could be employed to determine if Holmes is genuinely insane. This would entail injecting the accused mass murderer with gradual doses of a barbituate (most likely sodium amytal) while prosecutors subject him to questioning.Like taking other barbituates (or even just a few too many stiff drinks), sodium amytal (also known as sodium amobarbital) can function to lower inhibitions and prompts willingness to talk. In his column on “‘Truth serum’ and ‘what really happened’,” psychiatrist August Piper detailed how narcoanalytic interviews typical proceed:Continue Reading…

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James Holmes and the ethics of “truth serum”


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