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If you’re familiar with his murders, you may be wondering what drug Jeffrey Dahmer used on his victims and how he made them sleep before killing them.

Dahmer—also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal and the Milwaukee Monster—was an American serial killer and sex offender who murdered and dismembered 17 men and boys in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area between 1978 to 1991. Dahmer earned his nickname as the Milwaukee Cannibal after police found that many of his murders involved necrophilia (the sexual act with a corpse), cannibalism (the act of humans eating another human) and the preservation of his victims’ body parts, usually their skeletons. Dahmer, who was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder, was convicted of 15 of the 16 murders he committed in Wisconsin and was sentenced to 15 terms of life imprisonment on February 17, 1992. Dahmer was sentenced to a 16th term of life imprisonment in 1978 for another murder he committed in Ohio. Dahmer died on November 28, 1994 after he was beaten to death by Christopher Scarver, a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.

Since his death, Dahmer has become the inspiration for several TV shows, movies and documentaries, including Netflix’s 2022 drama series, Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, in which he’s played by American Horror Story alum Evan Peters. In an interview with Netflix in September 2022, Peters explained why the serial killer was the hardest role he’d ever played. “I was very scared about all of the things that Dahmer did, and diving into that and trying to commit to [playing this character] was absolutely going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life because I wanted it to be very authentic.” Peters said. “But in order to do that, I was going to have to go to really dark places and stay there for an extended period of time.”

He continued, “”I have to say that the crew was instrumental in keeping me on the guard rails, I cannot thank them enough and I could not have done any of this role with them…It was a challenge to try to have this person who was seemingly so normal but underneath all of it, had this entire world that he was keeping secret from everybody.” “It was so jaw-dropping that it all really happend. It felt important to be respectful to the victims and to the victims’ families to try to tell the story as authentically as we could.” Dahmer is also the subject of Netflix’s 2022 docuseries, Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes. 

So what was the drug Jeffrey Dahmer used on his victims? Read on for the psychoactive drug Jeffrey Dahmer used to make his victims sleep and what his routine was before each of his murders.

What was the drug Jeffrey Dahmer used on his victims?

Jeffrey Dahmer

Image: Bureau of Prisons/Getty Images.

What was the drug Jeffrey Dahmer used on his victims? Dahmer used Halcion, a sedative that contains the drug triazolam, to incapacitate his victims. Dahmer was prescribed Halcion, a medication often used to treat insomnia, by a physician due to his sleeping issues from his job at the Milwaukee Ambrosia Chocolate Factory, where he worked the graveyard shift from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. six days a week, according to a study by The New School Psychology Bulletin. A study by Marquette University also reported that Dahmer told law enforcement officials that he would crush the medication and add the powder to his victims’ drinks before assaulting them. Dahmer would often grind the sedative and put the powder in a glass before he left his apartment to search for victims, so the drink would be ready when he returned home with them. 

In 1988, Dahmer lured a 13-year-old boy to his apartment with the offer to pay him $50 to take photos. While in his apartment, Dahmer served the boy alcohol laced with Halcion, had him pose nude and sexually assaulted him. After the boy told his parents, police were called to Dahmer’s apartment and he was arrested. Dahmer claimed to law enforcement officers that he didn’t know the boy was a minor and denied the assault. He also claimed that the drugging was an accident and that the cup he used to serve the boy was the same cup he used to take his own medication and he hadn’t washed it out because he was usually the only person who drank from it. He also questioned how an alleged drugged victim could provide such a coherent statement to the police.

In an interview on Inside Edition in 1992, Dahmer’s father, Lionel Dahmer, said that he believed that the psychoactive drugs Dahmer’s mother, Joyce Flint, used when she was pregnant with him was the cause of his mental illness and why he had the urge to kill. “To be alive and incarcerated, whether a mental institution or a prison, is a living death for Jeff,” Shari Dahmer, Lionel’s second wife, said at the time.

Lionel explained that Joyce, who had been hospitalized twice for depression, took powerful sedatives and hormones while she was pregnant, which he believed caused the physiological basis for his son’s actions. “My ex-wife had been taking about 26 tablets of different medications about one month after becoming pregnant,” Lionel said.

Lionel and Shari also recalled their reaction to Dahmer’s sentencing and learning the details of his crimes. “The pain was having to watch the families and sit there and have to listen to these gory details,” Shari said. “What do we say to these families? What a tragic waste. And we can’t do anything about it.” She continued, “It’s agony. Nothing will ever be the same again.” Shari told Inside Edition at the time that she became “physically ill” listening to her stepson’s crimes. “We can never erase this. The rest of our lives … the world is going to focus on the Dahmer name,” she said.

Lionel told Inside Edition of Dahmer’s suicidal thoughts after his sentencing. “It’s hard to see him in that light,” Lionel said. “It’s like a dream.” He added of his son, “He wishes he could start all over again, erase it all.”

What is Halcion and triazolam?

Jeffrey Dahmer

Image: Marny Malin/Sygma via Getty Images.

What is Halcion and Triazolam? Triazolan, which is often sold under the brand name Halcion, is a central nervous system tranquilizer and is a type of benzodiazepine, also known as “benzos,” a class of psychoactive drugs that act as depressants and lower brain activity. They’re often used to treat conditions like anxiety, insomnia and seizures.

Triazolam, in particular, is often used as a short-term treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders, such as jet lag. According to Drug Bank Online, triazolam is an ideal treatment for minor conditions like jet lag because of its fast action and short life. The site reports that the drug puts a person to sleep for about one and a half hours, allowing them the user to rest while avoiding morning drowsiness. The drug is also often used to reduce anxiety before medical or dental procedures.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story is available to stream on Netflix. Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes premieres on Netflix on October 7, 2022.

Jeffrey Dahmer

Image: CreateSpace Independent Publishing.

For more about Jeffrey Dahmer, check out Jack Rosewood’s Jeffrey Dahmer: A Terrifying True Story of Rape, Murder & Cannibalism. The biography—which is a part of Rosewood’s The Serial Killer Books series—tells the true-crime story of Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, a serial killer who terrorized Milwaukee, Wisconsin and murdered more than a dozen people (not to mention committed acts of necrophilia and cannibalism) throughout the 1980s until his eventual arrest in 1991. The book explains how Dahmer, who had an above-average intellect and is described as “conventionally good-looking,” was able to fool everyone around him, including his family, his neighbors and the police, to avoid capture for so many years. Jeffrey Dahmer: A Terrifying True Story of Rape, Murder & Cannibalism also takes readers through Dahmer’s murder trial, his death at the hands of his fellow inmates and how his crimes rocked Milwaukee for decades to come.

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