The Prisoner: Science: Super Strength Meprobamate

Standard meprobamate, developed by F.M. Berger and B.J. Ludwig under the name Miltown, is an anti-anxiety drug which balances the chemistry in the limbic system and thalamus. In the initial tests, aggressive monkeys which were unapproachable without gloves became calm and manageable. On human subjects it was found to only affect the behavior of subjects already suffering from anxiety disorders. Test subjects who were not anxious were unaffected and unable to tell the difference between the drug and a placebo.

Berger also developed mephenesin, a short term tranquilizer which creates complete muscle relaxation in all voluntary muscles while leaving the autonomic system at normal function.

The Village employs a few super strength meprobamates of different trade names (such as mochrotamate) which combine the anti-anxiety properties of standard meprobamate with the tranquilizing effect of mephenesin. As Number 2 explains, it “remains dormant until triggered by the nervous system, then releases itself in desired quantities to produce instant tranquility or temporary oblivion.”

When the computers predict that an individual will become anxious but does not provide an exact time, super strength meprobamate can be administered a day or more in advance and triggered by a heightened state of emotion, which makes it preferable to a standard-issue timed drug. Properly administered, the subject will be able to go about his or her daily business with normal levels of concentration and will be unaware of the presence of the medication in his or her system.

Speculative scientific aspects of The Prisoner have come from a combination of the television episodes, related comics and novels, and unrelated scientific resources. This article is copyright Pet Serrano 2003. Carlton International owns all rights to The Prisoner.

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