Pharmacology to Control and Punish

Pharmaceutical drugs have been used by different societies to control and punish people who were considered dangerous and/or inconvenient by the government. Because these practices have been well documented in the Soviet Union, this article concentrates on the history of the use of pharmacology to control and punish individuals in that country, without implying that such practices are exclusive to the Soviet Union.

Mental hospitals were often used in communist Russia to isolate people who were dangerous to the established order. These mental hospitals were called psikhushkas and were run by security forces who engaged in mental reorientation under the guise of medical care. Punitive psychiatry has been in place in Russia since 1918. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that it became a major ...

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