In the 200ml bottle shown, there would be 20gm of chloral hy- drate. Purchase of the drug in most countries is restricted by pre- scription. Home manufacture of chloral hydrate is however rela- tively easy.
The lethal dose of chloral hydrate is subject to some debate, but generally 0.25gm/Kgm is the figure quoted. This means that for an 80Kg individual, a full bottle of the syrup shown would need to be drunk, something that would seem impractical. However, the solubility of the drug in alcohol and the synergistic effect of the alcohol/ chloral hydrate combination does lead some to con- sider this as a viable option for a peaceful death. Other drugs that can usefully enhance the lethal action of chloral hydrate include the benzodiazepines (such as oxazepam/ serapax).
The sedative effects take place after 15 - 20 minutes post inges- tion, death is usually caused by persistent interference with car- diac conduction, cardiac insufficiency associated with arrhythmia and associated cerebral death. Cardiac pacemakers are contrain- dicated.
Note also, that the drug in more concentrated forms causes ir- ritation to the lining of the oesophagus and stomach, irritation that can lead to vomiting, scarring, even perforation. Dilute forms of the drug are preferable, but this of course pushes up the vol- ume that needs to be drunk. If capsules are used, water should be drunk beforehand.