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Old August 8, 2010, 11:18 AM   #1
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Overestimation of the Effects of Drugs

Well, we all know that some drugs such as PCP can make someone absorb more damage before going down but I feel that there's a bit of mythology around this as well. I know that sometimes people on drugs can take a lot of damage but I think sometimes it is blown out of proportion. The other day I heard a guy from my town claim that he heard about a guy on PCP who took half a dozen bullets from the local police before sprinting across a busy highway. Then a semi truck slammed into him at over 60 mph and was completely total. To everyone's shock the guy on PCP stood up and kept running! I'm not a physicist but something tells me no drug is going to protect you from a several thousand pound vehicle.
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Old August 8, 2010, 01:22 PM   #2
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Urbin Legend Perhaps

Half a dozen rounds maybe, but a semi at 60 MPH I don't think so.
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Old August 8, 2010, 01:23 PM   #3
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NO chance. The vehicle could have hit him in an odd way, thus not incapacitating him. But, a vehicle smashing you head on at 60MPH, PCP or not your dead. IMO, yes it may have a slight effect on humans abilitys but I think Adrenaline is the biggest factor. That mixed with PCP/Meth may on occasion make human beings bodys have like a Nitrous system. A little extra boost. I have no personal experience with it so this is all speculation.
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Old August 8, 2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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The story is suspicious. And there is a lot of mythical hokus pokus out there. Maybe a doctor can chime in, but here is what I know about drugs like PCP, cocain, acid, etc etc...

For our purposes, these drugs have the same effect on the brain as massive does of adrenaline...

They do not give the body any special powers beyond what the body is already capable of. The kicker is that the human body is capable of amazing things, we just have this thing called out brain the prevents us from performing these things because we might hurt ourselves. For instance, try to bite off your pinky finger. Can't do it? That's normal, your brain and your nerves prevent you from doing this. But it only takes the same amount of force to bite through your pinky finger as it takes to bite through a carrot. Psychoactive drugs like PCP remove the brain from the equation. To put it in other words, they let you bite off your pinky finger.

But the action is not limited to something as trivial as biting off your pinky. You've heard stories of people lifting cars so that their loved ones can escape out from under them? That's because the body's adrenaline rush removes the brain's perception of pain and limits and allow your muscles to perform to their max limit. We do not perform at this limit naturally because muscles in max strain can break bones, snap joints, and rip limbs off if they are not checked by the brain. Again, PCP removes the brain from the equation and lets the muscles operate at that level.

These both tie into the phenomenon that we experience when people on these drugs "take massive amounts of damage" before dying. In a normal person (you also see this in animals), life-threatening injury produces shock. This is a survival mechanism, the body shuts down anything not IMMEDIATELY needed for survival and concentrates on that immediate survival. So what constitutes not immediately needed for survival? You don't need to control your legs to survive immediately (in fact running will only cause more blood loss), so you'll lose control of those, you don't really need to see to survive immediately, so you will lose sight, in fact, you probably don't need ANY of your senses to immediately survive, so you will probably black out while your body tries to stem to flow of blood and pour as much energy into trying not to die in the next 10 seconds as is possible. When someone falls down after being shot (and most people don't even realize they are shot due to the effects of adrenaline), this is almost what is happening. They were not knocked over, they are not dead, they are in such shock because "OMG I JUST GOT SHOT" that their body enters into condition red and concentrates on one thing: damage mitigation.

But people on psychoactive drugs do not experience this because it's like their brains are constantly producing massive amounts of adrenaline, they do not experience the normal reactions that people should experience; their brains are not filtering. But these drugs will not magically harden skin and bone and let people get hit by a speeding truck only to get up and keep running with two broken legs. If they would have died under normal circumstances, they will still be killed be the action even under the effects of PCP.
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Old August 8, 2010, 03:17 PM   #5
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I AM a physicist.. and that man is dead.
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Old August 8, 2010, 03:52 PM   #6
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Yea I have doubts about the semi at 60mph too.

There are two things that happen when you are wounded. There is physical damage that prevents your body from functioning properly and there is the psychological aspect of " HOLY**** I JUST GOT SHOT!!!!" Some people when shot or otherwise injured will drop just because they are programmed to think that's what you are "supposed to do" when injured even if it's just a minor injury. Drugs can overcome that aspect to some degree and just ignore or not notice pain, but they don't do miracles. If your heart is shredded from a shotgun blast or your legs got torn off after getting caught under a semi at 60mph then drugs won't help you if your body just cannot physically function.

And I doubt a semi would be totaled after hitting someone even at 60mph. Might have a big dent in the grill, but I wouldn't say totaled.
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Old August 8, 2010, 04:44 PM   #7
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in iraq the drug blend they give the suicide/car bombers/ insurgents is pretty effective at keeping them going.

saw quite a few of them keep comming from a burst from an m240b, and m249.

also saw a car bomb driver who did not detonate(nailed the stryker at 60mph) get out and try to run away with a shattered leg and blood fountaining from his neck.

also followed massive blood trails for hundreds of yards till we found the guys with multiple holes in the chest/thorax.
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Old August 8, 2010, 05:27 PM   #8
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As a paramedic I have seen some crazy stuff. One very tiny petite woman on PCP tore up 4 of the biggest corn fed SO's you will ever see. She also bit the k-9 multiple times. She could not have weighed more than 95 pounds at most. It was not an easy task transporting her. We also left the stretcher with the ER staff as none of us wanted the displeasure of removing the restraints long enough to transfer her to one of the beds.
I transported and treated a guy that was hit by an 18 wheeler at 40 mph. He did survive. He was not running anywhere it broke half of the bones in his body, not to mention the internal, and intercranial damage.
There was a guy that was drunk in a shoot out with the police. He was still fighting after taking multiple hits to his chest, one round hit him in the gun hand, removing half of 2 fingers, he dropped the gun, and the cops then tackeled him, and overpowered, and restrained him. That is just form alcohol. He lived to be sentanced to 15 years flat.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old August 8, 2010, 06:27 PM   #9
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Years ago I stopped to help a Virginia State Trooper that was wrestling with a guy in the cruiser's passenger seat at the end of my driveway. The guy was on PCP and when I first saw the guy's eyes , he looked like a crazed wild animal, and I mean crazed!
About the same time two cars slid in and four detectives ran up, one got in the back seat and wrapped the shoulder belt around the guy's throat,holding the belt ends with both hands. He then put his knee in the seat back and yanked back on the belt with all he had, that calmed it down enough to get more sets of hand cuffs on the guy and get him in the back of another car.

I told the Trooper how much I admired him, and what he has to do everyday, but that's why I couldnt be a trooper, I'd woulda shot the sob!!!
He said that he didnt want to shoot the guy because it was the drugs, but if help hadnt arrived when it did he would have had no choice!
I have never seen, and hope I never do again, a look like that on a human!
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Old August 8, 2010, 10:07 PM   #10
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Regardless of the effects of certain psychoactive drugs, there are certain circumstances under which the human body simply will no longer function properly. If someone loses enough blood, they will pass out. If a bone is broken, then the appendage in which it lies can no longer function normally. Whether or not someone feels pain or realizes that they've been injured, the fact of the matter is that they are still injured. If they are injured severely enough, then no amount of mind-altering substance can overcome it.
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Old August 9, 2010, 08:20 AM   #11
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Gee, if PCP turns you into a super-human machine that can withstand a truck hitting you at 60mph or 20 rounds of 9mm, then maybe I'll have to consider getting some PCP to keep around for tactical reasons.
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Old August 9, 2010, 12:22 PM   #12
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....or 20 rounds of 9mm....
Careful Skans! After that gets passed around a bit, it'll become 9 rounds of 20mm, much like many stories that get passed around .
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Old August 9, 2010, 12:41 PM   #13
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Great posts guys. Sefner great post about that psychological aspect. Thats a very good point. I think people need to get over the pre-programmed response of "I'm shot, I need to drop." Adrenaline is a very powerful drug as well and one that is naturally produced by the body. Im convinced that plays the major factor. Im sure most of you being gun buffs you have heard of the 1986 FBI Miami shootout. RIP the 2 agents Platt killed. If not look it up. It took 12 rounds including buckshot to the feet(which still didnt) stop this criminal named Platt. He partner was not a contributor to the firefight but took 6 rounds including face and was able to wake up 1 1/2 minutes later and duck behind cars and try to get to his escaping partner. Platt's brachial was spewing the entire time since he had a fatal 1st hit but did not STOP him(1.3L of blood in right plural cavity at death.) He had a Mini 14 FBI had all handguns and 1 shotgun. Both of these men were on NO drugs whatsoever according to autopsy. Get Dr. Andersons book about it if your interested. Teaches you a lot about what people can really do. From a forensic standpoint. Some intense photos as well.
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Old August 9, 2010, 07:06 PM   #14
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30 years of detoxing people under my belt Never saw any of this ever. Have heared plenty of stories though. Don't underestimate a motivated person. Motivated to get away,motivated not to be beaten up, motivated not to be raped in jail, motivated to compleate a given task, motivated to survive. People are amazing.
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Old August 9, 2010, 07:42 PM   #15
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Exactly, grey sky. The human body is an amazing machine. If I ever have to shoot to kill, Im automatically going to assume its going to fail to stop. Why? Worst case scenario, and like sky said a motivated person can be an incredible thing. Motivated to take my life at all costs may not be very easy to stop. Even after the heart is destroyed the human body can move voluntarily for 10-15 seconds. Thats enough time to do a lot of harm. Im going for the biggest area I can hit (COM) and the head if it fails to stop the threat. Im not taking any chances against the crazy human machine that wants to do me harm.
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Old August 9, 2010, 08:05 PM   #16
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Yes the body is amazing but at the same time it can only take so much punishment. It's possible someone could take 12 rounds and survive but the idea that someone could take the impact of a 16,000 to 20,000 pound vehicle going at 60 mph and completely total the vehicle yet survive and run away unharmed themselves is too ridiculous to even consider. The body is constructed of bones and muscles and no drug or no level of motivation is going to turn that into concrete and steel.

Motivation and bravery only takes someone so far, the French command at the beginning of World War I believed that a motivated force could overwhelm at enemy with machine guns, obviously the years of statement and horrific loses proved otherwise.
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Old August 9, 2010, 08:22 PM   #17
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I am also a physicist and agree that the man is dead based on physical damage from the energy transfer.

However, I am also an analyst and an observer and I witnessed most of a shooting event that occurred on Memorial Day of this year. A local man unexpectedly interrupted a home invasion in the middle of the day. He had agreed to "check on" a home whose occupants were away on vacation for several days, and he'd driven by on his way home from Sunday church. Noting an unexpected vehicle at the residence, he stopped and went to the front door of the house. When he entered he was threatened at gunpoint by a single male who secured him to a chair. Feeling his kidnapper was sufficiently irrational and out of control to kill him, he managed to get to his feet and threw himself out of a double-glazed window, still tied or taped to the chair, and landed on a deck where the chair broke and allowed him to release himself from it. During this escape phase, his kidnapper fired five 9mm rounds into his back, each round a strike -- four in the torso and abdomen and one in an arm.

The victim then ran 25 yards to arrive at his pickup truck, which he started and drove 100 yards to the nearest occupied dwelling (right beside my mother's home, where I was visiting at the moment) where he saw a resident out-of-doors and asked for help, "Call 911. I've been shot!" After the heads-up from the sound of the shots a little earlier, I'd gone outside my mom's house about this time and I helped to load him into the neighbor's pickup truck bed and he was driven immediately to the hospital 12 miles away. His most obvious injuries were cuts on the right side and arm from breaking through the window. He was lucid but becoming "shocky".

The victim was a heavyset white male, about 60 years old and six feet tall, 260 pounds, and a self-employed auto mechanic by trade. No drugs, but lots of adrenaline.

The kidnapper/invader used the neighborhood's focus on the victim to escape the house he'd invaded and enter a large mountainous wooded area just across the street, where he stayed undercover for several hours before finally surrendering to the now-assembled multitude of LEOs. Supposedly, he did a perfect job of losing the weapon, which has still not been found.

The victim endured several hours of surgery, including removal of a couple of feet of colon. He was able to go home about a week after the incident.

I'm not proud of my response to the shots heard -- I should have been more aware but circumstances were what they were. I was CCW as always, but would not have chosen the become personally involved once I knew the seriousness of the situation. My attention would have appropriately remained on my mother unless it appeared I was the only one who could intervene in a life-or-death event.
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Old August 9, 2010, 08:24 PM   #18
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^^^If someone could survive being shot 12 times how is it ridiculous that someone couldn't survive a head on impact with a semi trailer at 60 mph, total the vehicle, and in turn because of the drugs run away? I'm not saying it happened, it sounds a little fishy to me too but I wouldn't rule it out like that.
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Old August 9, 2010, 10:39 PM   #19
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The shooting and contact with a multi-ton semi truck at 60 mph are just not comparable. If pistol bullets do not impact the central nervous system or the heart, they will cause disability or death by blood loss. So absent a CNS or cardiac hit, or a hit to a major blood vessel such as the aorta, carotid arteries, or inferior vena cava, unconsciousness may take a very long time and might never happen. On the other hand the energy transfer from a multi-ton truck at 60 mph (880 fps), except in the instance of a very glancing blow, will transfer enough energy to a human body to literally turn it into jelly. I have seen it close up.
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Old August 9, 2010, 10:54 PM   #20
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I dont think a man would survive that impact. I was just talking about the human body in general. 60mph Semi head on your dead. Unless its some freak occurence like a previous poster said a glancing blow. Most likely I would say dead though. Human are capable of great feats but not eating a hit from a semi truck.
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Old August 10, 2010, 06:23 PM   #21
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The French ran toward a machine gun nest?
Just kidding
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Old August 11, 2010, 06:03 PM   #22
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PCP generally has 2 effects on a human, anesthesia (can't feel pain, stress, etc.) and psychosis (not in touch with reality, hallucinations, magical thinking, etc.). When these effects are taken together under the influence, the user can't feel he/she has been injured or stressed, and has no idea of how to cognitively react when injured or stressed. The body may indeed run down due to blood loss or grievous injury, but the psychosis prevents the recognition that the body should run "out of gas".
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Old August 11, 2010, 06:14 PM   #23
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Agreed. I think the drugs play more of a factor in the non lethal situations. It turns resisting arrest into a brutal fight. Any usually resulting in the BG getting tazed. The Lethal situations even worse but I dont think it plays a massive factor. It gives the body a nitrous oxide like boost ,mixed with adrenaline, could supercharge a person.
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Old August 12, 2010, 06:39 PM   #24
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The story might be a bit of an exaggeration, but its not completely impossible.

Like many stories posted already, the human body is capable of extreme durability under the effects on JUST adrenaline. Crazy things happen subconciously to increase survival. People have had thier heads hit by .308 and lived, 90% of people (i think) survive handgun wounds. Theres plenty of stories on law officer, 6 times COM with a .357 mag and lived, 16 times with a .40 and was able to keep fighting even with a foot nearly removed. You can be active for 20 seconds with an unbeating heart.

The body will eventually fail, but it can stay active for a superhuman amount of time even with mortal wounds.

The truck hitting a person going 60? Sure, they could survive. There are multiple accounts of people hitting the earth at terminal velocity and surviving, one instance where the man was able to stand up and walk afterwards.

Is it likely he survived long afterwards? Hell no! And if he did thats just a testament to modern medicine.

Add in some PCP to the mix and things get crazy.
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Old August 12, 2010, 10:40 PM   #25
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Isn't there a theory out there regarding taking out drugged up people with pelvis shots? I've heard a little of it, something along the lines of a large diameter pistol bullet to the pelvis (Shattering it is the goal) will render someone physically unable to stand.
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