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Bottle of sodium amytal, England, 1960-1975

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Credit: Bottle of sodium amytal, England, 1960-1975. Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Sodium amytal is a strong sedative drug that is sometimes used to treat severe insomnia in patients who are already taking barbiturates – often for mental health problems. It is a drug with a controversial history. It was used in the Second World War by some medics to send soldiers who were exhausted and traumatised by their experiences into a deep therapeutic sleep. However, it has also been described as a ‘truth serum’ and used during interrogations. Once a sedated, hypnotic state is induced, the subject is said to be more suggestible and less able to retain information they may wish to keep secret. maker: Eli Lilly and Company Limited Place made: Basingstoke, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom

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