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#1
Old 10-02-2012, 09:00 AM
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Suicide by Cyanide Pill (Don't Need Answer Fast)

I'm aware that there have been (and may still be) cases where certain soldiers, spies, etc. carry in their mouths a cyanide pill that they are to swallow in the event of capture. The purpose being, so that they die instantly rather than face torture.

A scene in a movie I saw recently involved a captured spy doing this. He swallowed the pill and, within seconds, was foaming at the mouth. He appeared to be in pain for a matter of seconds, and then he was gone.

Is this how it works IRL? Is the process quick? Painful? Does it produce foaming at the mouth?
#2
Old 10-02-2012, 09:22 AM
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It does appear to be quick. Recently Michael Marin was pronounced guilty of arson; the video shows him, immediately after the verdict is read, sneaking a cyanide pill into his mouth. This article says he collapsed minutes later, and died on the way to the hospital.

Last edited by Machine Elf; 10-02-2012 at 09:22 AM.
#3
Old 10-02-2012, 09:31 AM
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It didn't work so well for the assassins of Archduke Ferdinan.
Their cyanide was old, and just made them sick. It must have been sooooooo embarrassing.
#4
Old 10-02-2012, 10:25 AM
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Here's Wiki's explanation. Essentially it causes all your individual cells to almost instantaneously suffocate (i.e. chemically block their ability to process Oxygen). Also, for best results agents are told to bite down on the capsule and rupture its contents into their mouths, not swallow it and wait for it to be dissolved by the stomach...
#5
Old 10-02-2012, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquadementia View Post
It didn't work so well for the assassins of Archduke Ferdinan.
Their cyanide was old, and just made them sick. It must have been sooooooo embarrassing.
From the article:

"Franz Ferdinand was a man of short temper and was very angry about having bombs thrown at him."

LOL! I'd pretty pissed off too.
#6
Old 10-02-2012, 10:31 AM
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How does one get a hold of a cyanide pill, anyway? They surely can't give them out at the pharmacy.
#7
Old 10-02-2012, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis View Post
"Franz Ferdinand was a man of short temper and was very angry about having bombs thrown at him."
He didn't stay mad for long, though.
#8
Old 10-02-2012, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by BobLibDem View Post
How does one get a hold of a cyanide pill, anyway? They surely can't give them out at the pharmacy.
Potassium cyanide is available from chemical supply companies; lethal dose is about 1/3 of a gram. Sodium cyanide has similar toxicity.

1/3 of a gram could easily fit into a couple of empty gel capsules.

Fisher Scientific sells both chemicals, but not over the internet. Presumably they keep your name and address on file in case there are shenanigans.
#9
Old 10-02-2012, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
carry in their mouths a cyanide pill that they are to swallow in the event of capture.
How does the pill dissolve in the stomach but not the mouth?
#10
Old 10-02-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronX View Post
How does the pill dissolve in the stomach but not the mouth?
In the movie the spy bit... something. I'm assuming the pill proper was encased in plastic or something.
#11
Old 10-02-2012, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronX View Post
How does the pill dissolve in the stomach but not the mouth?
In that case it's generally not a pill as such, but a glass capsule of liquid hydrogen cyanide. This is method used by Himmler.
#12
Old 10-02-2012, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
It does appear to be quick. Recently Michael Marin was pronounced guilty of arson; the video shows him, immediately after the verdict is read, sneaking a cyanide pill into his mouth. This article says he collapsed minutes later, and died on the way to the hospital.
From the second article cited:
Quote:
The 53-year-old placed something in his mouth, video footage of the trial showed. He then took a swig from a water bottle and within minutes began to convulse. He died en route to the hospital.
That doesn't sound so quick and painless to me.

If you're gonna do it, you gotta be sure you know what it takes to do it right!
#13
Old 10-02-2012, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquadementia View Post
It didn't work so well for the assassins of Archduke Ferdinan.
Their cyanide was old, and just made them sick. It must have been sooooooo embarrassing.
HOW did their cyanide degrade? Not arguing that it did or did not happen, I'm just puzzled HOW cyanide would degrade such that it was no longer lethal?
#14
Old 10-02-2012, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
From the second article cited:


That doesn't sound so quick and painless to me.
"Minutes" is pretty quick. Not as quick as a gun to the temple, but faster than a lot of other poisons.

Convulsions may or may not be painless, depending on whether one is conscious while they are occurring.

That said, it may not be pleasant. the CDC lists abdominal pain and irritation/corrosion of the lining of the esophagus and stomach as symptoms for ingestion of KCN and NaCN. Presumably swallowing a capsule would protect the esophagus, but the stomach would likely still suffer.

Foaming at the mouth is not listed as a symptom; I'm guessing this is a bit of artistic license by Hollywood to provide a visual indicator that the character has indeed ingested a poison of some sort.
#15
Old 10-02-2012, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kinthalis View Post
From the article:

"Franz Ferdinand was a man of short temper and was very angry about having bombs thrown at him."

LOL! I'd pretty pissed off too.
Well, if bombs were being chucked at him, it's not his short temper that mattered, but his short fuse.

Last edited by KarlGauss; 10-02-2012 at 02:21 PM.
#16
Old 05-19-2016, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronX View Post
How does the pill dissolve in the stomach but not the mouth?
They are talking about sublingual administration. A medication that dissolves under the tongue will enter the bloodstream more rapidly than one that dissolves in the stomach. The stomach is, of course, more convenient so most of our common drugs are swallowed whole. Sublingual medication is usually used when a person needs the drug in their body as fast as possible (for example, when you have been captured and want to commit suicide).
#17
Old 05-19-2016, 10:42 AM
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I recall seeing a documentary years ago on serial killer Leonard Lake. He was taken into custody for theft and was in a police interview room that had a camera rolling. He took the cyanide pill and collapsed within a minute or so & started having convulsions. He was dead within a few minutes.
#18
Old 05-19-2016, 10:44 AM
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The spam post is gone. I guess it was a good product after all.

Regards,
Shodan
#19
Old 05-19-2016, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
The spam post is gone. I guess it was a good product after all.
Can you really trust someone who gives a great product review for a suicide pill? "Works as advertised," my ass.
#20
Old 05-19-2016, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
The spam post is gone. I guess it was a good product after all.

Regards,
Shodan
They should have left the post. Shilling for an online pharmacy in a cyanide pill thread? Hilarious.
#21
Old 05-19-2016, 11:46 AM
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Perhaps she was trying to commit suicide by mod.

Regards,
Shodan
#22
Old 05-19-2016, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKilez View Post
Can you really trust someone who gives a great product review for a suicide pill? "Works as advertised," my ass.
That was all they had time to write.
#23
Old 05-19-2016, 01:57 PM
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Does cyanide work on zombies?
#24
Old 05-19-2016, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by running coach View Post
That was all they had time to write.
Maybe they were dictating.
#25
Old 05-19-2016, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canadjun View Post
HOW did their cyanide degrade? Not arguing that it did or did not happen, I'm just puzzled HOW cyanide would degrade such that it was no longer lethal?
Four years late answer to this question: unless stored in a sealed bottle, cyanide will slowly react with water/carbon dioxide from the air, forming volatile HCN + carbonate.
#26
Old 05-20-2016, 12:31 AM
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What I recall (from films) is that those evil Nazi spies somehow had the cyanide stored in a false tooth so they only had to bite down hard (after capture) and.. goodbye. No one has mentioned this so far in the thread, Is that because it's a Hollywood thing? I mean, how could the person eat and chew food if one of his molars was filled with cyanide?
#27
Old 05-20-2016, 12:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bardos View Post
What I recall (from films) is that those evil Nazi spies somehow had the cyanide stored in a false tooth so they only had to bite down hard (after capture) and.. goodbye. No one has mentioned this so far in the thread, Is that because it's a Hollywood thing? I mean, how could the person eat and chew food if one of his molars was filled with cyanide?
SFAIK the false tooth thing is not true. The Nazis distributed cyanide capsules which were glass, coated with rubber to minimise the likelihood of accidental breakage. You carried this in a pill-box about your person, only putting it in your mouth when you wanted to commit suicide immediately, or when you expected that you would want to commit suicide presently, and that you might not at that time be in a position to put the pill in your mouth.
#28
Old 05-20-2016, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
Maybe they were dictating.
Then wouldn't it have said "Works as adveraaargh..."
#29
Old 04-25-2017, 12:08 PM
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My client tried to die...

Somehow obtained ONE cyanide pill. Instead, she was very ill for a very long time and is still struggling to survive. I asked where she obtained it, and she would not tell me other than to say "online in the darknet". Okay, call me dumb, but what is the "dark net"? I've heard that mentioned on cop shows but does it really exist outside of the movie industry? I want to help her, I am a trauma therapist, but also know that if she doesn't want help, nothing will work. My question is where does one get that "one powerful pill" and how strong (mg) does it have to be? I think she said hers was 50mg. How did she buy it online without getting caught in the mail (customs) or with the Feds somewhere along the line? I ask because I have no doubt she'll try doing it again and I'd like to help her not take it until we have exhausted all possible help options. Thanks!
#30
Old 04-25-2017, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by TraumaTherapist View Post
but what is the "dark net"? I've heard that mentioned on cop shows but does it really exist outside of the movie industry
The internet that over 99% of us use regularly is just the tip of the iceberg. There is the so called 'dark net' where places exist that you DO NOT want to go to. Perhaps you have heard of The Silk Road. Things like Silk Road and whatever child porn and death video sites there are on the 'dark net' won't be found with Google. If youtube comments make you worry about humanity, then do not go looking for the deep web.

ETA: Shops like Silk Road, and presumably others can and will provide all sorts of illegal goods and or services. As far as I know the only accepted form of currency is Bitcoin. So bottom line, yes it is possible to get suicide pills, or marijuana or heroin or pure MDMA over the internet.

Last edited by Ike Witt; 04-25-2017 at 12:29 PM.
#31
Old 04-25-2017, 01:13 PM
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Moderator Note

Welcome to the SDMB, TraumaTherapist

Please note that we do not permit discussions that encourage illegal activities, as is spelled out in the Registration Agreement that you agreed to when you registered here:
Quote:
You agree, through your use of this service, that you will not use the SDMB to post any material that you know or should know is false and/or defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, or in violation of U.S. law. You agree not to post material that in our opinion encourages activity that is illegal in the U.S.
http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/...d.php?t=650726

That doesn't mean that the topic is completely off-limits though.

Note to all - let's keep the discussion on the legal side of things. You are free to discuss what the dark web is, what the effects of cyanide are on the human body, etc. but let's not have any "how-to" type info. Do not discuss exact dosages required for suicide, and do not give details on how to obtain illegal drugs or substances used for suicide or other illegal activities. Do not provide information about how to avoid getting caught doing illegal things. Also, do not link to any sites providing anything illegal.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 04-25-2017 at 01:14 PM.
#32
Old 04-25-2017, 01:56 PM
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The "dark web" is a bunch of (mostly nefarious) web sites which can only be accessed using special software (Tor, I2P, etc) which handles decryption, anonymization and other protocols to hide the activity of the websites and the people who use them.

Although the terms are sometimes confused, the "deep web" on the other hand is simply all web sites which are not indexed by google and other search engines. For example, any web site that you need to log in to in order to access, like most Facebook pages, is part of the deep web.
#33
Old 04-25-2017, 02:01 PM
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THANK YOU for the information!!

THANK YOU - that was very helpful; I am just worried about my client. She is new to me but, as a therapist, I also know I cannot be more invested in someone's life than they are.



[QUOTE=Ike Witt;20161735]The internet that over 99% of us use regularly is just the tip of the iceberg. There is the so called 'dark net' where places exist that you DO NOT want to go to. Perhaps you have heard of The Silk Road. Things like Silk Road and whatever child porn and death video sites there are on the 'dark net' won't be found with Google. If youtube comments make you worry about humanity, then do not go looking for the deep web.

ETA: Shops like Silk Road, and presumably others can and will provide all sorts of illegal goods and or services. As far as I know the only accepted form of currency is Bitcoin. So bottom line, yes it is possible to get suicide pills, or marijuana or heroin or pure MDMA over the internet.[/QUOTE
#34
Old 04-25-2017, 02:03 PM
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Thank you very much...

THANK YOU - that was very helpful; I am just worried about my client. She is new to me but, as a therapist, I also know I cannot be more invested in someone's life than they are.

Appreciate your time Ike_Witt, Engineer_Comp_Geek, and MarkN+
#35
Old 04-25-2017, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UDS View Post
SFAIK the false tooth thing is not true. The Nazis distributed cyanide capsules which were glass, coated with rubber to minimise the likelihood of accidental breakage. You carried this in a pill-box about your person, only putting it in your mouth when you wanted to commit suicide immediately, or when you expected that you would want to commit suicide presently, and that you might not at that time be in a position to put the pill in your mouth.
One of the former SR-71 (ur maybe U-2, I forget) spy plane pilots that went on to write books mentioned that one time he was having some candy for a snack on the way home from a mission, and accidentally pulled out his cyanide pill and only realized just before popping it in his mouth. They stopped issuing the pills shortly after, I guess figuring the pilot would die in the process of being shot down and/or didn't know enough to be all that useful if captured. (The pressurized "spacesuit" had a grommet on the front of the helmet so they could eat Good & Plentys and the like or stick in a straw for a sip of water; another of the pilots once poked himself in the eye with the straw and almost crashed the plane).

Last edited by Gunslinger; 04-25-2017 at 04:42 PM.
#36
Old 04-25-2017, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunslinger View Post
One of the former SR-71 (ur maybe U-2, I forget) spy plane pilots that went on to write books mentioned that one time he was having some candy for a snack on the way home from a mission, and accidentally pulled out his cyanide pill and only realized just before popping it in his mouth. They stopped issuing the pills shortly after, I guess figuring the pilot would die in the process of being shot down and/or didn't know enough to be all that useful if captured.
After that incident, the U-2 pilots were issued a "Silver Dollar" that contained a needle loaded with shellfish toxin - one scratch was supposed to be sufficiently lethal.
#37
Old 04-25-2017, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by si_blakely View Post
After that incident, the U-2 pilots were issued a "Silver Dollar" that contained a needle loaded with shellfish toxin - one scratch was supposed to be sufficiently lethal.
That seems like a slower and more stressful way to die (paralysis leading to suffocation) than cyanide poisoning, though. Unless scratching yourself with a dose of saxitoxin makes it work differently than people who get paralytic shellfish poisoning from eating it.
#38
Old 04-25-2017, 08:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Ike Witt View Post
The internet that over 99% of us use regularly is just the tip of the iceberg. There is the so called 'dark net' where places exist that you DO NOT want to go to.
Well you SAY that, but now I want to go.
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