Over the years, many drugs have been labeled the most toxic, addictive or harmful substances on the planet. But crack and heroin pale in comparison to a decapacitating agent once used by the U.S. military on its own soldiers. This substance is so toxic, in fact, that it can best described as a poison rather than a drug.
The compound in question is BZ.
3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate, or “BZ” for short, is a deliriant that causes stupor, confusion and hallucinations. Worse yet, its effects last upward of 92 hours, often causing days of distress in subjects under its influence.
And that’s if they’re lucky.
Others may suffer severely increased body temperature, loss of consciousness and even coma or death.
The purpose of these human studies was to determine the effectiveness of BZ as an incapacitating agent against the Viet Cong. The noxious compound was even made into a series of 750 lb. cluster bombs to be dropped on the unsuspecting enemy at a moment’s notice (as if Agent Orange weren’t bad enough).
Fortunately, these munitions were destroyed between 1988 and 1989, but their legacy will live on. It’s speculated that BZ is the drug featured in the movie Jacob’s Ladder.
This video clip and article from The New Yorker take you inside the minds of BZ test subjects and the creepy personnel who were running the show.