Narco-Analysis Test & It’s Uses in Forensic Science


Narco-Analysis test involves the intravenous administration of a medication that induces a state of anesthesia in the subject. This hypnotic trance stage is beneficial to investigators because the subject is more likely to provide secret facts that the subject would never reveal in a conscious condition.


In the 1930s, a group of psychiatrists began analyzing patients after administering medicines to them. This caused a condition of slumber in them, reducing their efficacy in directing their conscious stage. The first chemical substance employed was scopolamine, an atropine group alkaloid. Due to the fact that the medications were either narcotics or sleep aids, the term “narco-analysis” was created.  The term Narco Analysis was coined by Horseley.

Drugs used in Narco-Analysis Test

Ethanol, Scopolamine, Quinnuclidinyl benzilate, Temazepam, and various barbiturates, such as Sodium thiopental (commonly known as Sodium Pentothal), Sodium Amytal (Amobarbitol), and Seconal are particularly remarkable sedatives and hypnotics that alter higher cognitive function by depressing the CNS. Nowadays, barbiturates, notably sodium pentothal, are the drug of choice for narco-analysis.

Procedure of Narco-Analysis Test

An anaesthesiologist, a psychiatrist, a clinical/forensic psychologist, an audio-videographer, and accompanying nursing personnel perform the Narco Analysis test in India. The subject’s fitness is assessed by the anesthetist, who determines whether or not the medicine can be provided. The forensic psychologist will write the report on the disclosures, which will be accompanied by an audio-video compact CD. If required, the intensity of the revelations is validated further by exposing the person to polygraph and brain mapping tests.

Subject’s physical examination is recorded. Low dosages of sodium pantothenol or sodium amytal, which are routinely used in hospital practice to produce anesthesia, are delivered. This substance, like alcohol, promotes drowsiness, and the user becomes chatty and less inhibited. It is beneficial because it uncovers the person’s latent conflict and unresolved feelings about prior experiences. Subject’s capacity to conceal the truth deteriorates. A series of controlled questions are now posed to subject. Responses are recorded on tape using a sound recorder. As the subject’s guilt complex diminishes, He or she is more likely to tell the truth. The discoveries can help investigators identify key pieces of evidence or confirm pre-existing testimony and prosecution hypotheses.

Right To Privacy

Narcoanalysis is not openly permitted for investigative purposes in most developed and/or democratic countries. The use of narcoanalysis, polygraph, and brain mapping tests violated the subject’s right to self-incrimination, according to the Apex court, which overturned several high court rulings. This was done in violation of Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution. According to the article, “No individual accused of an offence shall be compelled to testify against himself.”

Nobody can be forced to provide testimony against themselves, hence this test can only be undertaken with the approval of the court and the subject himself. The results of this test are not admissible in court, but they can help the investigative team find the truth. The test is contentious, although it has been used in a number of recent cases.

Drawback of Narco-Analysis Test

This kind of test is not always accepted in legal proceedings. It claims that persons in a semi-conscious condition lack the mental capacity to correctly answer any questions, despite the fact that certain other courts publicly accept them as evidence. Studies have demonstrated that lying under narcoanalysis is conceivable, and its reliability as an investigative tool is being questioned in most nations.

  • Some participants can maintain their ability to mislead when under anaesthesia, while others can become extremely receptive to questioning.
  • The responses offered during a hypnotic period are not provided deliberately or in a rational manner. As a result, they cannot be used as evidence in court.
  • When performed without consent, this test poses numerous serious concerns, including physical intrusion into the body by inserting needles and different excruciating stimuli such as pinching, shaking, slapping, and similar actions to rouse a person from a deep slumber in order to answer the questions.
  • On the other side, having unrestricted access to a person’s sensitive information constitutes mental assault.
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