December 1, 2001
National Institute of Justice
Oleoresin capsicum (OC), or pepper spray, has gained wide acceptance in law enforcement as a swift and effective way to subdue violent and dangerous suspects in the field with relatively little force. However, it has been argued that OC spray, when used in combination with physical restraints, can lead to significant respiratory compromise, including asphyxiation and death. This Brief discusses the effect of OC on respiration, particularly when combined with positional restraint.
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