(Received 23 September 1975; accepted 17 June 1976)
Published Online: January
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Chloral hydrate, discovered in 1832, is considered to be the first synthetic organic compound effectively used as a hypnotic . Its relative safety gained it great popularity, and reports of administering up to 25 g in a 20-h period have been published . Dependency potential was recognized early, and many notable individuals including the philosopher Nietzsche became habituated. Individual case histories have documented persons taking almost 25 g nightly over prolonged periods of time  but little has been published on actual blood concentrations in such apparently tolerant individuals. The following case exemplifies some of the problems encountered in certifying a death in a person using relatively large amounts of chloral hydrate.
Coroner, Matin County, San Rafael, Calif.
Stock #: JFS10392J