Cocaine is a hell of a drug, but getting shocked with a Taser while riding high on methamphetamines probably beats any white-knuckled cocaine experience hands down. And that's exactly what happened to some lucky sheep in a new study that tested the effects of Tasers on meth-addled targets, funded in part by Taser International.
Growing abuse of methamphetamines has led to arrest-related deaths in situations where law enforcement officers used their Tasers on drug-intoxicated suspects. The latest study was designed to test whether electronic control devices (e.g. Tasers) can lead to dangerous cardiac responses in meth-intoxicated humans, with sheep standing in for people.
The less-lethal device of choice was the Taser X26, a standard law enforcement tool which can fire at suspects from a distance of 35 feet. Researchers shocked sixteen anesthetized sheep after dosing the animals with an IV drip of methamphetamine hydrochloride.
Some of the smaller sheep weighing less than 70.5 pounds suffered exacerbated heart symptoms related to meth use. But neither the smaller nor larger sheep showed signs of the ventricular fibrillation condition, a highly abnormal heart rhythm that can become fatal.
The study that appears in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine openly lists a few caveats. Aside from being partially funded by Taser International, the study authors include two physicians who represent medical consultants and stockholders of the company. One of the two is also the medical director of Taser International.