1. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    Need poison!

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Domino, Apr 4, 2012.

    Does anyone happen to know where a character would be able to find some kind of poison in or around a school? Preferably something like cyanide, if that would be at all plausible.

    When I wrote the scene originally, I didn't bother to explain what the poison was or where it came from, only that it had been located somewhere on campus. I imagined that it, whatever 'it' was, had come from the science labs or from the groundskeeper's pesticides or something. It didn't really matter to the story, as nobody consumes the poison in the end anyway... But I've realised that I ought to at least give a passing mention as to what it was. I've had a look around on google for ideas and found loads of information on various poisons and their effects, just not enough on where the poisons can actually be found. Yet.

    If anyone has any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated. :)
     
  2. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sulphuric acid should be easy to find in the chemistry lab. I don't know if it's poisonous in the traditional sense, but it will surely kill you if you drink it. There are probably common cleaning agents which are poisonous too.
     
  3. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    How fast does your poison kill and does your school have a science lab, custodial room or some other area that might have chemicals stored.. Gardening or cleaning material can often provide an excuse to have something toxic. The problem of course is those types of material take a while to kill you. Quick silently 'kill you now' type of poisons aren't that commonly fund even in most labs.
     
  4. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    Islander, that sounds a good one. Do you happen to know whether or not that would be easy to hide in a beverage? And would it have to be given to the victim in a glass? I originally had it slipped into one of those cups with the plastic lids and a straw, but that probably wouldn't work for sulphuric acid, would it?

    Thank you very much for your input.

    Yeah, there's labs and stuff, but it is only a secondary school so there wouldn't be anything really dangerous. It doesn't matter how fast it kills, or how it kills, as it never gets a chance to do its job anyway. :) I mainly need it to be discreet.
     
  5. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    There are a lot of common household products that will kill you.

    Try Here
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There is so much paranoia around terrorism and illegal drug manufacture that high school chemical cabinets are being stripped of dangerous substances. What's left is carefully locked down with as much security as the school district can afford. And what they can afford is quite a lot, considering the cost of liability insurance.

    Even in more relaxed days you wouldn't find cyanide in a high school chem lab. I could tell you how to make it from more innocuous chemicals, but I won't.

    It's a bit ridiculous. There are more lethal substances on supermarket shelves than anything you are likely to find in a high school chemistry lab.
     
  7. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    You're definitely right about that. Thank you. I was wondering about cyanide in pesticides, but even then I suppose they wouldn't use those on school property. (edited to add: It's set in England, just in case that makes any difference.)

    Was I right to think that I need to be specific about this? I don't even use the word poison in that particular scene, it's all just implied. But is it cheating, to let the reader make their own assumption as to what the character used as the poison and where he got it from?

    ...I suppose that's a difficult question to answer when you don't know anything about the scene or how it's written.
     
  8. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I would suggest ricin, an old favorite of the communists. I had heard it was easy to make.

    A quick google says, "Ricin is easily purified from castor oil manufacturing waste."

    Kids used to take castor oil as a preventative, it's been around a long time. The components should be easy to find, or smuggle in.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Herbal poisons are many, and I don't doubt you could find something that grows naturally in the area your story is set in. Castor beans are not easy to find, but there are many deadly poisonous funguses, also members of the nightshade family, hemlock, and yew.

    Google poisonous plants of the British Isles
     
  10. lorilee
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    lorilee Member

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    try ethylene glycol (anitfreeze). It's sweet and probably easily hidden in a drink. Methyl alcohol might be easy to find too, its a common solvent in labs and pretty toxic
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    OP, you would NOT be putting a straw into Sulphuric Acid - it's an ACID. A very strong one too. I'm not sure anyone could even drink that without knowing what it was - I mean, it's acid. You feel the fumes long before you get close to it!

    However, cyanide should be plausible actually. I remember my Chem teacher telling us that one of his chemistry classmates committed suicide after failing an exam at uni. He certainly found it on campus somewhere, it seemed. I'm not sure what kinda cyanide it was. But unfortunately there's a reason why he failed his exams - he didn't pick the cyanide that gave him instantaneous death. He picked another form of cyanide that causes extreme spasms and contorts your body painfully before slowly killing you.

    But yeh, cyanide from a lab sounds plausible.
     
  12. Domino
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    Domino Active Member

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    Yeah, I knew that the straw would be out on that one, but thank you for the clarification.

    That's interesting. Thank you.


    Antifreeze is possibly a good idea. I'll look into it. Thank you, lorilee.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    anywhere that oleander or castor bean trees grow... or foxglove...
     
  14. Flashfire07
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    Flashfire07 Active Member

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    If you want something easy to slip into a drink try the old classic of arsenic. A small amount is enough to kill you and is very hard for human senses to pick up on. However, I doubt you can find it easily in a school environment. I'd also recommend any one of the toxic toadstools, although they'd be hard to put in a drink... maybe if you squeeze the juices into it? If the target drinks alcohol slip in some absinthe or vodka, if they drink enough they'll die and there will be no indication of foul play. Perhaps try medication, an overdose of any one of the 'study aids' people have been known to take also works well if you can figure out how to conceal it.
     
  15. Afion
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    Afion Senior Member

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    Apple pips contain cyanide, but it would be quite tricky to poison someone with them...
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not exactly/ They contain amygdalin, which slowly metabolizes in the body to hydrogen cyanide. However, the body can also metabolize hydrogen cyanide in small quantities, so the concentration of hydrogen cyanide never gets very high at all.

    Cyanide isn't a cumulative poison, like lead or arsenic. It is metabolized and eliminated in cases of sub-lethal doses. It binds with hemoglobin and prevents the transport of oxygen to cells, resulting in organ failure and death. The damage to organs from moderate doses is cumulative, so repeated lower doses could be lethal. But you won't even reach the level of organ damage from apple pips.
     

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