So the idea is for chemical weapons to come back into use because they are marketed/propagandized as humane. I got the idea from a documentary on how easy it is to overdose on Fentanyl. Basically the weapons would be dispersing some kind of powdered synthetic opiate. The idea is that these bombs are lauded as a way to "just put the bad guys to sleep" and come to be seen as a humane way to cause death without suffering. As a result the use of chemical weapons comes back into vogue on the battlefield by first world powers.

Is there a synthetic Opiate more potent than Fentanyl?

  • $\begingroup$ Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. People die accidentally by taking the drug, so putting them to "sleep" should not be difficult. I don't think you need something more powerful. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Apr 16 '18 at 4:05
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is that I want something that can't simply be countered by issuing naloxone to the troops. $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Apr 16 '18 at 4:06
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure but if the concentration is high enough, they might not live long enough? $\endgroup$ – Vincent Apr 16 '18 at 4:08
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    $\begingroup$ Four serious problems: #1 There will be a lot of waste. #2 If the wind changes, it blows back in your own troops' faces. #3 Chemical protection suits are hot. #4 A grown man's "put to sleep" dose is a lot higher than a child's "put to sleep" dose, and I guarantee you that somehow "innocent kids" will "just happen" to be on the battlefield. Thus, CWs are only good for what you see in Syria, Iraq and Iran: terror weapons against civilians. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Apr 16 '18 at 5:04
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    $\begingroup$ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_hostage_crisis_chemical_agent $\endgroup$ – Ville Niemi Apr 16 '18 at 6:45

What about Carfentanil? According to what I've read on the subject (which I admit isn't much) it's 100 times more powerful than Fentanyl, making it 10k more powerful than morphine. As an aside, 10,000 is the exact quantity of a 'Myriad' which is why I ended up reading about this drug; it's a myriad more powerful (misuse of the noun myriad admittedly) than morphine, but I digress.

I don't know much about naloxone admittedly; I do know it's used on heroin users who OD but that's about all I know in terms of its efficacy. I also don't know how long a human could live with (say) 150 micrograms of carfentanil in their system, but my guess is the enemy would be dead before trying to reach for their epi-pens.

Of course, if this drug scales in this manner and still has room to grow, it's entirely possible someone can build a new synthetic analog of carfentanil that's 100 times more potent AGAIN.

The bigger concern to my mind is biodegradability of the drug. Dump this on a populace, you may well wipe them out as well as any wildlife that goes to feed on the bodies, but if it has a half life of (say) a year, the entire area could well be a no-go zone for decades. Also, as we learned from Chernobyl, wind conditions could well spread the love further than you like.

As an idea it sort of works, but there are certainly limitations to how you would deploy it that need to be resolved, as well as how you protect people on your side from accidental exposure.

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    $\begingroup$ The story is kinda supposed to be a critique on how the military and politicians sell war as a humanitarian action and the concept of precision munitions being "clean." The idea is the government acknowledges that collateral is happening but sell it like "well it would have happened anyways, atleast this way it didnt hurt!" $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Apr 16 '18 at 19:53

This has already been done.

In the Moscow theater hostage crisis the police flooded the building with a fast acting agent that knocked everyone inside out before the terrorists could trigger their explosive vests.


First responders had plenty of Narcan which reverses opiates and they revived most of the hostages.

The agent used was exactly what you propose: one of the superfentanyl derivatives.



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