Sleeping gas

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Sleeping gas is an oneirogenic general anaesthetic that is used to put subjects into a state in which they are not conscious of what is happening around them. Incapacitating agent is a related general term for "knockout gases" or "KO gas" that ideally render a person unable to harm themselves or others, regardless of consciousness.[1] Most sleeping gases have undesirable side effects, or are effective at doses that approach toxicity.

Examples of modern volatile anaesthetics that may be considered sleeping gases are BZ,[2] halothane vapour (Fluothane),[3] methyl propyl ether (Neothyl), methoxyflurane (Penthrane),[4] and the undisclosed fentanyl derivative delivery system used by the FSB in the Moscow theater hostage crisis.[5]

Picture of a sleeping gas alarm on sale in Finland.

Side effects[edit]

Possible side effects might not prevent use of sleeping gas by criminals willing to murder, or carefully control the dose on a single already sleepy individual. There are reports of thieves spraying sleeping gases on campers,[6] or in train compartments in some parts of Europe.[7] Alarms are sold to detect and alert to such attacks,[6] so some people believe sleeping gas is dangerous to health.

Bolivian rapes[edit]

In a Mennonite community in Bolivia, eight men were convicted of raping 130 women in Manitoba Colony over a four-year period from 2005 to 2009, by spraying "a chemical used to anesthetize cows" through the victims' open bedroom windows. The perpetrators would then wait for the women to be incapacitated, whereupon they entered the residences to commit the crimes. Later, the women would awaken to a pounding headache, find blood, semen or dirt on their sheets, and would sometimes discover their extremities had also been bound. Most did not remember the attacks, although a few had vague, fleeting memories of men on top of them. Several men and boys were also suspected of having been raped. While additional actors were thought to have participated, they were never identified nor prosecuted; in fact, the rapes did not stop with the incarceration of the original eight men.[8]


  1. ^ "CDC - The Emergency Response Safety and Health Database: Glossary - NIOSH". Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  2. ^ van Aken, Jan; Hammond, Edward (2017-02-15). "Genetic engineering and biological weapons". EMBO Reports. 4 (Suppl 1): S57–S60. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.embor860. ISSN 1469-221X. PMC 1326447Freely accessible. PMID 12789409. 
  3. ^ Madea, Burkhard; Mußhoff, Frank (2017-02-15). "Knock-Out Drugs: Their Prevalence, Modes of Action, and Means of Detection". Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. 106 (20): 341–347. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2009.0341. ISSN 1866-0452. PMC 2689633Freely accessible. PMID 19547737. 
  4. ^ Nguyen, Nam Q.; Toscano, Leanne; Lawrence, Matthew; Phan, Vinh-An; Singh, Rajvinder; Bampton, Peter; Fraser, Robert J.; Holloway, Richard H.; Schoeman, Mark N. (2017-02-15). "Portable inhaled methoxyflurane is feasible and safe for colonoscopy in subjects with morbid obesity and/or obstructive sleep apnea". Endoscopy International Open. 3 (5): E487–E493. doi:10.1055/s-0034-1392366. ISSN 2364-3722. PMC 4612230Freely accessible. PMID 26528506. 
  5. ^ Miller, Judith; Broad, William J. (2002-10-29). "HOSTAGE DRAMA IN MOSCOW: THE TOXIC AGENT; U.S. Suspects Opiate in Gas In Russia Raid". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  6. ^ a b "New spate of attacks by sleeping gas gang, caravanners warned". Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  7. ^ Nwanna, Gladson I. (2004-01-01). Americans Traveling Abroad: What You Should Know Before You Go. Frontline Publishers, Inc. ISBN 9781890605100. 
  8. ^ Jean Friedman-Rudovsky. "The Ghost Rapes of Bolivia". Retrieved 23 August 2013.