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Author: Subject: I went to prison for my chemistry hobby
ScienceGeek
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I went to prison for my chemistry hobby

So my last post was on May 28th, 2009. It's been a few years, but I have a story I'm finally ready to share.

It was during the early autumn month of September 2018 that my girlfriend and I decided to go camping in the woods. We bring a telt and some sleeping bags, and that’s about it, and we usually stay there for a couple of nights or three. On the second day, as I was exploring the area around us, I found a boulder I wanted to climb to get a better viewpoint. I lost my foothold during the ascent, causing me to slide down a narrow crevasse that was covered with moss. As I climbed back out I noticed a deep laceration on my right leg, and I knew immediately that it needed stitching. Whenever I go camping I bring my own little first aid kit, which contains needle-holders and sutures, and back in the tent I started suturing my leg. I had forgotten to bring any form of chemical disinfectant, so to sterilize the equipment as much as possible I held the needle-holders in the flame of my outdoor stove.
As I was observing how aggressive a flame is to expensive surgical equipment, I was reminded of Hydrogen Peroxide… I could have used a concentrated solution to disinfect the equipment, and a diluted solution to disinfect the wound.
So a couple of days later, on a Friday afternoon when we’re back in the city, I call the local pharmacy to ask about acquiring a 35% solution of Hydrogen Peroxide. Several years back this was not a big deal, you just had to sign an MSDS and you were given a liter of 35% H2O2.
This is where things started getting interesting. Because, on July 22nd, 2011, a guy named Anders Behring Breivik decided to massacre in total 77 people, most of them shot, 8 of them by a homemade bomb placed in the governmental district of Oslo. Following these events, new legislation was placed on the acquisition of certain chemicals which can be used for more malevolent purposes than I had in mind. Concentrated Hydrogen Peroxide being on that list.

Simply by calling to inquire about Hydrogen Peroxide, an automatic message is sent to the Norwegian National Criminal Investigation Service, called KRIPOS. Completely unbeknownst to me. So a couple of days later, two young Policewomen rang my doorbell, and being the person I am, I invited them in for coffee.

Now a tiny, but relevant, digression. As I moved to Hungary in 2008, since then I have been storing the chemicals with my grandparents, because they had the right facilities to do this in a safe way over a long period of time. At the ripe age of 75 they decide that they have had enough of each other, and they decide to divorce one another. During these proceedings they put the house, with the chemicals, up for sale, and because of this I had to find a new place for a rather large collection of chemicals. The idea was to donate it to the local University, because I couldn’t keep boxes upon boxes of chemicals in my tiny living room.

As the policewomen came into the living room, for a cup of coffee, there was no way for them to not notice these boxes. It took about 2 minutes before they decided that I was a potential threat, putting both me and my girlfriend who I was living with in handcuffs behind our backs. Without being told our rights or why this was happening, they escorted us outside, in view of everyone, who were home because it was a Friday afternoon. I remember how uncomfortable it was to see all the scared and confused looks in the other residents’ faces, but it was nothing compared to the treatment that was to come.
Again without being given any kind of information regarding what this is and why this is happening, my girlfriend and I were placed in separate holding cells in the cold basement of the local police station. We were there for 48 hours before being transported to the local prison, during which time we had interrogations upon interrogations, defending the idea that I, or we, are not planning to make a bomb and kill people. I remember I kept saying: “I’m a doctor, for fucks sake. I devoted my life to SAVE lives, not TAKE them away.” These words seemed to carry little weight, as we ended up staying in prison for 1 and 2 weeks. 1 week for my girlfriend, 2 weeks for me. This happened now 4 years ago, and I still haven’t heard anything from the Police… Not a single word. No actually that’s not true. A couple of weeks after I got back out, a man called from the Police just to let me know that they had destroyed all of the confiscated chemicals. With an estimated value of $30.000. Lost forever. A long long time ago, when I was still a young and curious explorer, I remember I had a fear of being “caught” be the Police, because I honestly didn’t know whether what I was doing was legal or not. I enjoyed it way too much to actually look up the legality, and so I was living blissfully ignorant. Which is kind of OK as a teenager. I never imagined that something like this would happen. I thought, in the worst case, they’ll fine me, and definitely not put me in prison for having a “different” hobby. It’s hard to put into words, and even harder to understand, how this has affected my life for the last 3 years. Both I and my girlfriend lost our jobs, due to ignorant bosses, and we lost each other a couple of years later. My girlfriend kept holding “the imprisonment” against me, slowly antagonizing me over the course of a couple of years. I couldn’t for the life of me relax back outside. I kept feeling that the “system” would come and get me for no reason. This is a feeling I’m still carrying with me, and to be honest, it’s difficult to live in a country that treated me like this. As a medical doctor, in Norway, I could just walk into any pharmacy and ask for whatever I wanted or “needed”. And so I started self medicating on benzodiazepines. In any other forum I would specify why this is a terrible idea. I believe everyone here knows why. After almost a year the Norwegian Board of Medical Supervision revoked my medical license, and that’s when I actually started getting better. That’s when my mind started to slowly clear, and now, 2 years later, I feel comfortable sharing this story with people who actually listen. I am still struggling to get out of bed most days, but I have this unwavering optimism about life and the people in it. Because of it I’m more OK with having no money, no job and can barely afford to eat. I know good things come to those who wait, and I am compensating for all the years spent in front of medical books by catching up with all the novels I have always wanted to read. In doing so I’m reminded of how large life is, and how insignificant this event will eventually become. As long as I don’t give up, and stick with my dream of helping people, I know I will have the resources, one day, to realize my dreams. During one of my sessions with a psychologist, I managed to say something I quite enjoyed hearing myself say. I said “I want to turn my traumas into anecdotes”. Because it really is a fascinating story, I think. I have attached a picture of the front-page of the local newspaper ‘Rogalands Avis’, dated Wednesday 5th, 2018: The title reads: “Cohabitants charged with making bombs, KRIPOS confiscated chemicals at doctors residence” Thank God it makes me laugh, and not cry. What a weird event in my life. Thank you so much for reading my story. Xanax Hazard to Self Posts: 51 Registered: 28-8-2003 Location: Sweden Member Is Offline Mood: Curious What!? So you was going to jail for that? For H2O2? I know here in Sweden it's forbidden over 12,5%, but for not so far time ago, you could by 35% it in the the paint store. Well maybe I the police is comming to me again, when I was in need of an ambulance a month ago, I was so sick, but the other paramedic was looking at my chemicals that I have in the kitchen. Including hydrogen peroxide, but only 12.5%. With it were hydrochloric acid and acetone as well. I have no plans to make bombs even if it is possible. I do some harmless experiments in micro format. And you got rid of your doctor's ID !? So unfair! Just because you have chemicals at home, does not mean you have to build bombs. I have some household chemicals, which I collected in a shelf. Recently it was one in Västerås here in Sweden who worked with TATP and blew up his apartment; https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/vastmanland/explosion-i-la... According to rumors, he has lost his arms and genitals. Terrorists destroy for us who want to do small harmless experiments at home. Well, I did a little bit of radioactive stuff and the police came and took it. And I was fined about$ 2,000. I also had ricin and abrin at home. A few years later, my ex-girlfriend had gone to the police and told me that I was doing dangerous things again, but did not have a bit of illegality at home. So my landlord wanted to evict me, so I had to go to court to stay.

It sounds so unfair what you describe, so you get sad ... Did not you appeal the verdict?

But thanks for sharing!

[Edited on 2022-3-7 by Xanax]

Studying chemistry more seriously now!
Convicted 2014 for crime against the radiation saftey law; https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-14406766
Blog, diary and homepage; https://www.richardhandl.com/ (swedish, but with translation option)
Deathunter88
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 Quote: Originally posted by Xanax What!? So you was going to jail for that? For H2O2? I know here in Sweden it's forbidden over 12,5%, but for not so far time ago, you could by 35% it in the the paint store. Well maybe I the police is comming to me again, when I was in need of an ambulance a month ago, I was so sick, but the other paramedic was looking at my chemicals that I have in the kitchen. Including hydrogen peroxide, but only 12.5%. With it were hydrochloric acid and acetone as well. I have no plans to make bombs even if it is possible. I do some harmless experiments in micro format. And you got rid of your doctor's ID !? So unfair! Just because you have chemicals at home, does not mean you have to build bombs. I have some household chemicals, which I collected in a shelf. Recently it was one in Västerås here in Sweden who worked with TATP and blew up his apartment; https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/vastmanland/explosion-i-la... According to rumors, he has lost his arms and genitals. Terrorists destroy for us who want to do small harmless experiments at home. Well, I did a little bit of radioactive stuff and the police came and took it. And I was fined about $2,000. I also had ricin and abrin at home. A few years later, my ex-girlfriend had gone to the police and told me that I was doing dangerous things again, but did not have a bit of illegality at home. So my landlord wanted to evict me, so I had to go to court to stay. It sounds so unfair what you describe, so you get sad ... Did not you appeal the verdict? But thanks for sharing! [Edited on 2022-3-7 by Xanax] Seems to me the OP got their medical license revoked because they started doing drugs after losing some chemicals. Also without knowing the identities of the chemicals confiscated there's no real way of making a judgement about the situation. Laws are laws, if the OP pocessed any illegal chemicals then what happened is justified. Not saying I agree with most laws against us fellow chemists, but disliking a law does not give you the right to break it. crow6283 Harmless Posts: 46 Registered: 14-1-2018 Member Is Offline Mood: No Mood You’re not the only one. Welcome home. ScienceGeek Hazard to Others Posts: 151 Registered: 22-1-2008 Location: Norway Member Is Offline Quote: Originally posted by Deathunter88  Quote: Originally posted by Xanax What!? So you was going to jail for that? For H2O2? I know here in Sweden it's forbidden over 12,5%, but for not so far time ago, you could by 35% it in the the paint store. Well maybe I the police is comming to me again, when I was in need of an ambulance a month ago, I was so sick, but the other paramedic was looking at my chemicals that I have in the kitchen. Including hydrogen peroxide, but only 12.5%. With it were hydrochloric acid and acetone as well. I have no plans to make bombs even if it is possible. I do some harmless experiments in micro format. And you got rid of your doctor's ID !? So unfair! Just because you have chemicals at home, does not mean you have to build bombs. I have some household chemicals, which I collected in a shelf. Recently it was one in Västerås here in Sweden who worked with TATP and blew up his apartment; https://www.svt.se/nyheter/lokalt/vastmanland/explosion-i-la... According to rumors, he has lost his arms and genitals. Terrorists destroy for us who want to do small harmless experiments at home. Well, I did a little bit of radioactive stuff and the police came and took it. And I was fined about$ 2,000. I also had ricin and abrin at home. A few years later, my ex-girlfriend had gone to the police and told me that I was doing dangerous things again, but did not have a bit of illegality at home. So my landlord wanted to evict me, so I had to go to court to stay. It sounds so unfair what you describe, so you get sad ... Did not you appeal the verdict? But thanks for sharing! [Edited on 2022-3-7 by Xanax]

Seems to me the OP got their medical license revoked because they started doing drugs after losing some chemicals. Also without knowing the identities of the chemicals confiscated there's no real way of making a judgement about the situation. Laws are laws, if the OP pocessed any illegal chemicals then what happened is justified. Not saying I agree with most laws against us fellow chemists, but disliking a law does not give you the right to break it.

There were no illegal chemicals, not even Hydrogen Peroxide, which they denied me at he pharmacy because I didn't own a business to ascribe it to. That's why I haven't heard anything from them. Not been to court, no verdict, nothing.
Texium
7-3-2022 at 12:00
karolus28
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Wow, that's quite an interesting and somewhat moving story. Some people really are paranoid about chemistry. I wihs you well in life.

Fyndium
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Sorry to hear that. The modern day home chemist must be very careful, and indeed like you pointed out, you basically need a business to purchase various chemicals. Personally, I have mentally prepared for them one day showing up for some trivial reason, but I have safeguards, including clear labels and stock and a notebook for any reactions that I have performed. If all of my stuff were cross-referenced, there would be multiple items that could be mixed for malicious ends, H2O2, HCl and acetone for example, but possession of any of the stuff itself I have is legal where I live.

Also sorry to hear you lost your medical license. They are very strict with any meds that can be misused and revoke those licenses for even minor infringements. Personally, though, I would recommend that if you consider medication to be an option, to look into meds that are effective and do not possess any issues generally associated to, for example, benzos. For example, bupropion is a great med for depressive symptoms and general well-being, with little to no side effects. I actually dug myself from dung with that stuff years ago, and went to lengthy research before I ended up to this specific med amongst all others.

What sticks to my eye is they confiscated and destroyed your chemicals without criminal charges. I have a friend (which I talked several years ago to be true) in living in one of The Nordic countries who had a similar event happening to him, and the police showed up by assaulting his house, no questions asked, and they confiscated a load of chemicals and other stuff. He was in the end charged for possessing small amount of cannabis, but he got all of the chemicals back, except few unlabeled bottles which they apparently disposed and if I remember correctly they tested if they were explosives. I found it funny that they actually took what he had written to most of the chemical packages, and they just tested not any of them gave positives to drug tests.

Tbh I would have filed a suit against them for reimbursement of damaged or destroyed goods. Afaik most western jurisdictions will require some extent of criminal activity to be proven in order to be able to permanently seize any property. The job of police is to find the evidence to lock people up and store away the seized property until court verdict, unless it's very low value. What is not illegal, is legal, hence you are allowed to have it.

[Edited on 15-3-2022 by Fyndium]
Antiswat
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the best thing for a relationship is a test. aha. and so is it with your rights, the sooner you learn where youre standing and where you dont the better
you can be thankful that they didnt laser you down with automatic firearms, that seems to be the breaking point for most people. ive had my fair share of cinematic experiences- confirmed by bystanders that accidentally got caught up in it. society is a puzzle and if they get confused over what kind of piece you are they get frustrated, they will just like a child from a tainted gene pool try to press harder until it fits, or just end up gluing you in place- luckily in your case only for a couple weeks which is quite rubbish when you supposedly didnt even have fuses or anything like that

a recurring theme in all this is that people fear what they cannot understand
they dont understand to do what they assumed you were gonna try, you dont need 5000 different chemicals
you barely need 2. i honestly think they were just out looking to become heroes, thats what society has become, a ladder. maybe your job position offended them? maybe you should look into psychology, if at least not for fun its well handy.
rest assured whatever you call this situation, its not gonna calm down until it all snaps and breaks. hopefully your name wont bear too much stigma

~25 drops = 1mL @dH2O viscocity - STP
Truth is ever growing - but without context theres barely any such.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_table
http://www.trimen.pl/witek/calculators/stezenia.html
Fyndium
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Btw, don't get offended, but did they actually had any proof of you making any energetic materials or planning to use (your chemicals) for malicious intents? Because I have a comparison as a friend of mine, who lives in Nordic countries, was also busted for all sorts of chemicals several years ago, and he sat about a week in jail for the investigation and in the end he got short conditional sentence for making small amounts of explosives just for fun. They quickly dropped any accusations of him planning some malicious use. Apparently the events in 2011 have triggered up the LE in Nordics, but at least in my friend's country they need hard evidence to prosecute or even suspect of something serious.
learningChem
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ScienceGeek, sorry to hear about the crimes commited against you by your government. I do wonder though, didn't you get any sort of legal defense? I live in what people in the so called 'first world' refer to as a 'shithole' and even here the police does not behave in such insane way as you described.

Darth-Vang
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"Fear is the path to the dark side! Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering..." -Yoda Fear does breed alot of hate to the unknown. Logic is thrown out the window when fear starts to settle in people's mind. "I feel people shouldn't have guns." OR "I feel people shouldn't have this X chemicals." Etc... Fear is a strong feeling so strong that it really cloud our judgements. Some laws are probably reasonable, maybe. Some laws are made by fear and or hate, in the USA for example: the Jim Crow law was born out of hate and fear, anti gun laws are born out of fear...it seems that your government or the majority of the people don't trust you with your hobbies it seems...some laws are ridiculous stupid...for instance in the state of Oklahoma at Oklahoma City, "It is illegal to eat your burger while walking backwards." LOL
Navier-Smokes
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I'm really sorry that happened to you man.

People don't understand just how bad the justice system and incarceration process is in most countries until they experience it firsthand.

Many people who've had the fortune of leading a charmed life just believe if someone gets arrested an/or ends up incarcerated then it must have been their own fault. They don't realize just how easy it is to get arrested or just on the wrong side of the law, all it takes is a misunderstanding or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and once you're in the system things have a way of really going to shit very easily.

In the US, 38% of white males have been arrested by the age of 23, with the number being 44 and 45% for black and Hispanic men.

And you know what one of the most fucked up things about prison is? The less you belong in there, the worse of a punishment it is.

Produced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948, Article 11 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights says "Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty."

If only that were actually true.