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Russia Raid Gas Said Opium Derivative

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posted on Oct, 28 2002 @ 12:54 PM
INGTON ó The mysterious gas Russian forces pumped into a theater to end a hostage crisis was an opiate ó a chemical related to morphine, Pentagon officials said Monday.

The Bush administration, meanwhile, refused to criticize Russian special forces for using the gas, which killed 116 of the hostages as well as the hostage takers.

posted on Oct, 28 2002 @ 11:10 PM

Originally posted by nyeffThe Bush administration, meanwhile, refused to criticize Russian special forces for using the gas, which killed 116 of the hostages as well as the hostage takers.

Doesn't surprise me...After all, why should Bush care about anyone that's not on the inside of his "clique"? He's already proven himself to be quite capable of victimizing everyone else.

posted on Oct, 29 2002 @ 12:50 AM
I don't see any problem in their use of gas which ever it was, keep in mind it also seems a lot like sarin gas as well.

The fact is come next morning the whole place was going to blow up, if they tried a physical take over there was WAAAAY too much risk someone would blow themselves before all could be subdued.

I was quite relieved to hear that ANY of the hostages were saved without having to give in to demands that MOST certainly could not have been given into. Keep in mind these terrorists weren't fighting for chechnyan freedom as much as for al Qaeda extremism, which has taken a more firm hold in that region since 911.

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posted on Oct, 30 2002 @ 01:24 PM
As '...New Scientistís web sites are currently being affected by a major hardware problem...' i will repost full story published today:

Russian gas clues point to cocktail
Further evidence about the Moscow knock-out agent suggests a mixture of anaesthetic and opioids

Further clues to the identity of the knock-out agent used to end the Moscow hostage crisis have emerged, indicating that a likely candidate is a cocktail of an opioid narcotic such as fentanyl supplemented by halothane, a common anaesthetic. The two are commonly used together in clinical anaesthesia.

The Russian authorities are maintaining their silence on the identity of the gas, which they used to incapacitate the Chechen hostage-takers on Saturday. But the gas is believed to have killed all but two of the 117 hostages who died. The first funerals have already been held.

Late on Tuesday, doctors in Munich reported that chemical analysis had identified halothane in blood and urine samples taken from two surviving German hostages within 24 hours of the rescue.

But David Whittaker of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain cautions that the two may have received halothane as an emergency treatment for bronchospasm induced by inhaling vomit, which happened to many hostages. If this true, it is probable that an opioid was used alone.

Peter Hutton, president of Britain's Royal College of Anaesthetists, adds: ìHalothane would take several minutes to get people even partially asleep." The gas used in Moscow rendered hostage-takers unconscious much more quickly, preventing them from donning gas masks or detonating their explosives.

However halothane in the agent would at least agree with what little Russian officials have said ñ ìit was a medical gas used in anaesthesiologyî.

Opiate intoxication
Doctors at the US embassy in Moscow say the two American survivors they examined had the telltale signs of opiate intoxication. Moreover, Moscow doctors have reportedly been treating survivors successfully with naloxone, which blocks the action of opiate drugs. And breathing failure and inhalation of vomit, said to be the most common cause of death in the hostages, are caused by opiates.

ìThere is already an inhalable opiate available ñ fentanyl, a short-acting, rather potent narcotic,î says Alan Zelicoff, a chemical and biological warfare expert at Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico, US. ìThe clinical utility of this drug is that it acts very quickly.î

Fentanyl is commonly combined with halothane in order to minimise halothaneís toxic side effects. And halothane may have been used to extend the effect of the agent, as the fentanyl wore off. But at high doses fentanyl alone may have been sufficiently long lasting. Both compounds must be administered as an aerosol suspension ñ tallying with the ìgreyî mist reported by some hostages.

Lethal dose
The most likely cause of the terrible number of hostage deaths is the side effects of fentanyl, say observers. Martin Furmanski, a medical historian in Newport Beach, California, says administering enough of an opiate drug to cause rapid anaesthesia almost always causes a patient to stop breathing ñ not a problem in a fully-equipped operating theatre, but a tragedy in the Moscow theatre.

Similar opioids are used in tranquilising darts for anaesthetising large animals. In these cases, the lethal dose is just six times greater than the dose needed for anaesthesia.

That implies that if the Moscow hostage-takers were exposed to enough of the mixture to knock them out within one minute, hostages who kept breathing it would have acquired a lethal dose within six minutes.

If this analysis is correct, notes Furmanski, the poor physical condition of the hostages, or a dosage miscalculation is not necessary to explain the mass deaths. ìIt was probably inevitable that many hostages would die if the aerosol opiate concentration was high enough to cause rapid unconsciousness in the terrorists,î he says.

Short of Russian officials naming the agent, the next information is likely to come from the examination of the remains of two US hostages who died, and clothing from a British family, now being examined at the UKís chemical defense lab at Porton Down. However, rapid breakdown of short-acting opioids such as fentanyl might mean analysts will have to look for longer-lived breakdown products of the drug.

copyright 2002 Reed Elsevier

posted on Oct, 30 2002 @ 09:14 PM
this morning (midnight GMT) teh BBC had an officail confirmation taht the gas was a derivative of opium (this of course tells us next to nothing -they might just as well have said a derivative of carbon)
On the other hand after several days, it's a fair bit that whatever the gas was, it certainly won't have been what has been announced. One imagines taht everyone who will recover has pretty much recovered, so any "information" is probably entirely useless.

On the bright side - if it is an "opium derivative" -given what has happened to opium production in Afghanistan, since US semi-occupation made it a much nicer place to live in, we'll never run short of raw materials.

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