Index Home About Blog
From: "Steve Harris" <>
Newsgroups: soc.culture.indian,,,soc.culture.russian,
Subject: Re: Russian storming action in Moscow theatre
Message-ID: <ovVv9.3672$>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 2002 18:26:28 GMT


Could be, if the reports are true. But who knows? I don't believe it, and
think it's just another Russian lie. I doubt that if you give 300 people a
single narcotics overdose that 1 out of 3 die of vomiting and aspiration. If
that were true there wouldn't be any heroin addicts left, as it's not
suction that saves them in the ED, but Narcan. I've seen a LOT of comotose
people come back with Narcan, and though I know it happens, I haven't seen
an OD die acutely of aspiration yet. Can't be that common. Mostly the
problem is simple respiratory arrest. Narcotics slow gut motility, and they
aren't particularly emetic. Fentenyl's a preferred drug for surgical
applications, and if it was particularly emetic we'd know about that my now,

If they were going to do this, they also could have avoided sending any food
in for 12 or 24 hours (or just enough for the terrorists) on some pretext. I
doubt that would have produced any warning, as Russians are used to delivery
and food screwups, waiting for food, and going hungry. Sure, some people
would have a few things squirelled away in pockets, but they'd still have
been rationing themselves, and eating minimally.

Wanna know my real guess? It wasn't Fentenyl at all, but something the
Russians don't want to tell about. Some nerve agent. Those things really do
make people fall down, puke, go to respiratory arrest, and die. And they
produce the same constricted pupils of narcotics, so you can lie about them
all you like to the people who are stuck with the casualties. Atropine would
have been antidotal, but nobody's gunna tell the doctors THAT, because it
makes it obvious what's being done.

I mean, come on. What are the Russians going to have on hand at short
notice? War agents. Nerve agents. These are not people who've spent a lot of
money developing nonlethal combat agents. Vaporized Fentenyl, my ass.


Kurt Ullman wrote in message ...
>In article <khHv9.2296$>, "Steve
>Harris" <> wrote:
>>There aren't any good gassable knockout agents. Obviously, from what we
>>saw in Moscow, aerosolized Fentenyl doesn't work too well. Though I'm
>>sure the villians died happy as they were shot. Now if only the Russian
>>mania for secrecy had included giving the storming team some Narcan for
>>the civilians. But you know, it's Putin. A secretive bastard.
>  We were discussing this on alt.books.tom-clancy (a good a place as any).
>The conclusion over there is that narcan was the least of the worry since
>so many (at least from reports so far) died from aspirating vomitus. They
>should have had more suction equipment before the narcan.

From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: Russian storming action in Moscow theatre
Message-ID: <64fw9.5741$>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 18:59:14 GMT

Keith F. Lynch wrote in message ...
>Steve Harris <> wrote:
>> I've seen a LOT of comotose people come back with Narcan, ...
>So long as respiration is supported, is there any harm in the coma?

No, not in the narcotic coma itself. With a ventilator you can just let it
wear off, and before that, give practically any dose.

>Presumably respiration was supported in all the victims as soon as
>they reached medical care.

Don't presume this. You've got 300 people to intubate in a few minutes. Not
gunna happen.

> If so, would Narcan have done any good,
>other than letting them wake up sooner?  In other words, did the
>delay in the doctors learning what the drug was really do any harm?

Probably not at the hospital. In the field, Narcan's very helpful in keeping
the mildly comatose alive while you deal with the respiratory arrests. Of
course, it can itself cause nausea, but this happens mostly in people who
are addicts, and who are being suddenly taken from chronic opiates to none,
in short time. So you get something like the worst case of GI flu you ever
saw. The syndrome is absent or not nearly as severe in people who aren't on
chronic opiates to begin with.  I wouldn't expect to see it in bringing back
one-time OD's in drug virgins.

>> I mean, come on.  What are the Russians going to have on hand at
>> short notice?  War agents.  Nerve agents.  These are not people
>> who've spent a lot of money developing nonlethal combat agents.
>> Vaporized Fentenyl, my ass.
>Why couldn't they have gotten Fentanyl from a nearby hospital or from
>wherever hospitals get it?

You're talking about a boatload of fentenyl-- probably more than would be on
hand at any hospital. Due to short effect time this stuff is only used for
surgery (absent some complicated PCA stuff the Russians likely don't do) and
it's not widely available. Can't get it at the corner drugstore.

>Why would they store war gases anywhere near downtown Moscow?

They had time enough to bring anything they wanted from anywhere. I read in
the Times today that some unnamed expert from DoD, speaking on condition of
anonymity, was of the opinion that if they used fentenyl, they also must
have put something else with it. And I can guess why DoD thinks that (the
vomiting just doesn't fit). The fact they don't want to say so publicly only
means that Bush is supporting Putin no matter what he did, so long as
deniability can be preserved. So we talk about the fentenyl, and everybody
tries very hard to ignore the nerve agent (halogenated anaesthetic agents
all have odors and are extremely difficult to dose). Our DoD, which would
certainly have looked at fentenyl and other dispersible opioids as crowd
control agents (we have a very large nonlethal weapons program) knows very
well it's not that simple. But it's politically incorrect right now for our
administration to say that. So we let part of the truth stand, and say

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.

Alexander Pope

I welcome email from any being clever enough to fix my address. It's open
book.  A prize to the first spambot that passes my Turing test.

From: (Steve Harris
Subject: Re: putin's knockout gas
Date: 2 Oct 2003 22:17:52 -0700
Message-ID: <>

Carey Gregory <> wrote in message

> (alarm) wrote:
> >So it turns out that the gas used was vaporised fentanyl. I was
> >wondering, wasn't there a better gas to do the job? I mean, with all
> >the gases available, chloroform, halothane, etc, i'm surprised that
> >they had to take a last minute improvised desperate approach(or
> >something).
> Desperate situations call for desperate measures.  And I don't know if it
> was a last minute improvised approach or not.  Frankly, I doubt it.  My
> guess would be it was something the military or intelligence agencies
> already had available.
> As for other choices, it's not a good idea to fill a building with explosive
> vapors, and most of the gases you mention are highly flammable.  Also, most
> agents that render people unconscious will carry the risk of respiratory
> depression, and 100% will carry the risk of aspiration and positional
> asphyxia.   Therefore, the same thing probably would have resulted no matter
> what agent they used.

If they could have filled the building with 80% nitrous oxide 20%
oxygen, that might have done the trick. Of course it would have taken
tankers full of both gases, and to be safe, the mixing would have had
to be done BEFORE the gas was introduced (too much or too little
oxygen is not a good thing <g>). An 80/20 xenon/oxygen mix would have
been even better, but of course prohibitively expensive. Doubt there's
that much xenon in the US, let alone Russia.

All anesthetic gases that induce unconsciouness at lower than 80%
concentration, of course carry risk of overdose when they do get
higher. And they all are smellier than nitrous (though there days,
none are flammable)

Fentenyl's a cute idea, and certainly could have been made to work
better than they did. Being typical secretive paranoid Russians they
didn't tell the medical people in charge of treating the hostages what
they were using, and making sure the first medical people on the scene
were all prepped with many doses of IV Narcan (the antedote). If that
had all been done to the max, they might have pulled it off. Instead,
Puttin handled it like the former KGB guy that he is. And people died
for lack of the information being kept secret.

Remember that Soviet sub that went down with some of the crew still
alive in an air pocket? There were elite divers capable of going that
deep, and even rescue bells in the US Navy arsenal capable of getting
people up from such depths. And the men on the sub lived for quite a
while before dying, as diary entries show. Putin just didn't tell
anybody what was up, until way too late for the people who needed
medical help. Do you sense a pattern?


Index Home About Blog