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None of the chemicals required are subject to specific government restriction. Application to a reputable chemical supplier for ethyl malonate and the chosen side-chain alkyl bromides is generally successful provided one can detail a legitimate purpose in the required end-user statement. Some endeavour may be required to obtain the sodium metal and dry ethyl alcohol. Alternatively, the catalyst sodium ethoxide can be purchased.
Authors’ note - the chemicals required to make a Peaceful Pill may be classified as ‘precursors’ for the synthesis of a restricted substance. Possession of significant quantities of these items may be an indictable offence and could result in significant penalties.
Acquiring Necessary Equipment
Laboratory glassware is becoming increasingly hard to obtain. This is a reaction on the part of the authorities to the existence of clandestine laboratories that manufacture illegal drugs (predominantly amphetamines) for commercial gain. The award-winning TV series ‘Breaking Bad’ is an excellent example of what can occur in the dark underworld of blackmarket drugs. Some of the chemical techniques used in the synthesis of a Peaceful Pill are the same as those used to make illicit drugs.
The synthesis in Exit’s projects required a prolonged period of reflux (Fig 20.1). A glass reaction vessel with 3 Quickfit taper necks (24/29), fitted with an efficient double surface condenser was needed. A heating mantle and a means of stirring the mixture and monitoring the temperature were also used. To protect the reacting substances from atmospheric moisture calcium chloride guard tubes are needed. The double surface condenser can be