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View Full Version : Visine...common food poisoning tool?


Yarster
08-14-2000, 03:59 PM
The other day, I was discussing food poisoning with a friend of mine and he tells me that he knows of people in the restaurant/ food service industry who keep a small bottle of Visine (you know, the stuff you use on your bloodshot eyes) handy to spike the food of unsuspecting 'difficult' customers.

Supposedly this is 'commonly known' in the food service community. It is my understanding only a few drops are needed, they are tasteless when mixed with food/ drinks, and the person becomes violently ill (as in projectile vomitting) a few hours after administration.

For obvious reasons, I have not, nor plan to ever try this, but for those of you who currently (or previously) work in food service:

1) Have you heard of/ done this, and is it in fact "common"?
2) Anyone know people who have swallowed eye drops in general for whatever wierd reason? And if so, do you in fact get violently ill from it?

Eve
08-14-2000, 04:10 PM
I once dated a barkeep, who tipped me off on this—he did indeed keep eyedrops (I can't remember what brand, though—and he specified only ONE brand works!).

It will not make people violently ill; it will give them—how can I phrase this?—lower abdominal distress for a day or two.

By the way, after this guy and I had tiffs, I did NOT leave my drink around him unguarded!

JSexton
08-14-2000, 04:13 PM
Nah. They just use iocane.

(I'd bet my life on it.)

jb_farley
08-14-2000, 08:17 PM
Inconceivable!

madd1
08-14-2000, 09:24 PM
A few drops of Visine in coffee will produce copious amounts of vomiting within an hour according to...

"Getting Even : The Complete Book of Dirty Tricks
by George Hayduke. Paperback (July 1981) "

I highly recommend this book, just for fun though. Someone could get hurt.

BobT
08-14-2000, 09:57 PM
According to some info about toxicology on the web that I saw at drkoop.com, the active ingredient in Visine, Tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, can have lots of nasty side effects including nausea. It can also induce heart problems, seizures, and a whole host of other stuff.

I would leave Visine for your eyes.

AskNott
08-19-2000, 04:32 PM
Something's bothering me here. Take a look at the plumbing. Your tears (and your Visine) drain into a duct next to your nose. That duct empties into your nose, which drains down your throat into your stomach. So why doesn't Visine, used as directed, make the user sick? This whole thing smells of Urban Legend.

Brymo
08-19-2000, 04:53 PM
During a fabulously evil phase of mine in high school I spiked the soda of someone who I knew had stolen money from me. Within about 2-3 hours he was horribly ill with the squirts. Lasted about 2 days. I used Visine but I assume anything with Tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride will work. I'm still waiting for the karma wheel to spin back back around and knock me on my ass.

yabob
08-19-2000, 04:55 PM
I agree - tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride is also used as an intranasal (Tyzine nasal drops):

http://healthgate.com/choice/med-emerg/dih_f/chapter/mono/la123300.shtml#la123300

It's not intended for internal use, but if it were that potent when swallowed, you surely couldn't squirt the stuff up your nose.

Omniscient
08-19-2000, 06:06 PM
The comments made by those skeptics seem very reasonable, and I'd wonder why the user isn't affected. The only possible explanation I can think of is that the eyes/nose absorb the carefully metered amount before it drains to the tummy. You'd think the warnings would be more emphatic if this were the case.

That said, I have heard of this, the first time was on a local shock jock morning show. The game the hosts played was to serve everyone on the show (about 6 jocks) a round of Corona's (at 9 AM) one of which was spiked with Visine. The story they'd heard from a caller, and the one they repeated, was that after a bartender did this to a poor tipper, he was stricken with explosive diarrhea within a couple of hours. I didn't get a chance to hear if the DJs were affected, but suffice to say this isn't a new concept.

The upside, if this is true, is that in my 4 years behind several bars I had never heard of it. None of my coworkers, or myself ever employed this techinique. So, if it is true you can all rest assured that it isn't widespread in the Midwest/Chicago area. after this thread one can never be too sure though.

LocalLoop
08-20-2000, 12:54 AM
Well, it's obvious what needs to be done here. Someone needs to spike their own beverage with Visine, consume, and report back. Let me think about this one....

Bear_Nenno
08-20-2000, 02:47 AM
Originally posted by jb_farley
Inconceivable! I dont think that means what you think it means.

BobT
08-20-2000, 02:00 PM
The toxicology info on Visine didn't say how much you had to consume to get the nasty side effects. I would imagine that it would have to be a lot more than you put into your eyes or nose.

Someone who doesn't know better (like a little kid) could easily ingest a whole bottle. That's probably not a good thing.

yabob
08-20-2000, 02:47 PM
The toxicology info on Visine didn't say how much you had to consume to get the nasty side effects. I would imagine that it would have to be a lot more than you put into your eyes or nose.

That's the reasonable assumption. Note that the OP's story suggests that spiking somebody's drink with a couple drops suffices. That's what doesn't make sense. I will certainly accept that taking maybe a teaspoon of the stuff may cause distressing symptoms up to and including death.

Brymo, as long as you're confessing, how much did you spike your victim's soda with?

yabob
08-20-2000, 03:08 PM
Another note on intranasal use: this use is prescription, rather than OTC (Tyzine). Tyzine is marketed in pediatric form, however, and the concentration of tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride it contains is twice that of Visine.

schief2
08-20-2000, 03:17 PM
the wilds of the Internet have turned up a few things...

For starters, there's an abstract (http://sunlink.net/~browning/journal.htm) of a medical case:

Central Nervous System Depression Following Accidental Ingestion of Visine Drops

Tobias JD (Clinical Pediatrics 1996 Oct; 539-540)

This is a case study of a two year-old who ingested approximately 2-3 ml of Visine. The toddler was mostly unresponsive, responding only to deep pain and exhibited pinpoint pupils.

Now granted, this was a just a toddler, but still, if 2-3 ml was enough to put the kid in a coma-like state, I'd wager that same amount would have at least some moderate effect on a full-grown adult...even in just the "few drops" amount that other posters have reported.

I also came across this guide (http://healthcentral.com/mhc/top/002590.cfm?src=ls) to treating someone who's ingested tetrahydrozoline, the active ingredient in Visine. Note the happy range of potential symptoms of someone who's OD'ed, including decreased body temperature, stopped breathing, seizures, and coma. (And, of course, "nausea and/or vomiting".)

I have to admit, I smelled a UL on this initially, seeing as how the eyes are connected to the nose are connected to the mouth. But it seems to be for real...I guess by the time any extra Visine drains out, the quantities must be too small to cause any noticeable effect.

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