NEW YORK, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ — A Czechoslovakian lab has reported success testing new mixes of sedatives and ketamine, an illicit “dance party” drug, to pacify hostile rhesus monkeys, and proposed the cocktail could be used as a behavioral weapon in combat.
The findings spotlight an emerging new intersection of high-tech pharmacology and non-lethal weapons development, and rekindle ethical and political questions about what is acceptable on the battlefield, according to a report by Michael Dumiak in the November issue of Defense Technology International (DTI) magazine.
The idea to use drugs against aggression in combat is not new, but the Czech study is notable for its findings and its public disclosure, Dumiak reported. “While Russian, Chinese and American scientists may have similar lines of study, the Czechs are brazen enough to go on scientific record,” he wrote, adding, “more than one American researcher connected with the military thinks [the] presentation is compelling.”
The Czech researchers, who compare the global spread of aggression today to epidemics of infectious disease in the Middle Ages, were most impressed with the effect of a naphtylmedetomidine-ketamine mix to induce calming, non-violent behavior in their subjects.
“We achieved complete manipulability of the animal, with low motoric sedation,” said Jitka Schreiberova, one of the study leaders. In addition to the pharmacological results, their report also addressed weapon delivery system options such as dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) laced paintball-like projectiles.
Additional reporting and commentary on the new wave of war drugs and other defense technology topics may be found on the ARES defense blog: www.aviationweek.com/ares