It was first prepared in 1960 from oripavine, which does not generally occur in opium poppy extract but rather in "poppy straw" and in related plants, oriental poppy Papaver orientale and Papaver bracteatum. It was later reproduced in 1963 by a research group at Macfarlan-Smith and Co. in Edinburgh, led by Professor Kenneth Bentley. It can also be produced from thebaine.
Etorphine is often used to immobilize elephants and other large mammals. Etorphine is available legally only for veterinary medicine|veterinary use and is strictly governed by law. Diprenorphine (M5050), also known as Revivon, is an opioid receptor antagonist that can be administered in proportion to the amount of etorphine used (1.3 times) to reverse its effects. Veterinary-strength etorphine is fatal to humans. For this reason the package as supplied to vets always includes the human antidote as well as Etorphine.
Large Animal Immobilon is a combination of etorphine plus acepromazine maleate. An etorphine antidote Large Animal Revivon contains mainly diprenorphine for animals and a human-specific naloxone-based antidote, which should be prepared prior to the etorphine.
A close relative, dihydroetorphine has been used as an opioid painkiller for human usage in China. It is claimed to be less addictive than traditional opioids, but this has yet to be confirmed.
Dexter and Etorphine
Dexter injects a tiny dose of Etorphine to his victims as a way of immobilizing them. The sedative works instantly, rendering the the person immobile and unconscious within a couple of seconds, and lasting for several hours. He administers the Etorphine via a hypodermic needle, typically to the neck of his victims.
How Dexter Obtains Etorphine
Dexter seems to have a near endless supply of Etorphine. In the episode "Return to Sender", we learn that he uses the alias Patrick Bateman M.D. to obtain his Etorphine. He describes this alias as, "So wholesome, so inconspicuous" but he has to delete off a record as it could be traced back to him. Patrick Bateman was also the name of the main character in the book American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, portrayed by Christian Bale in the movie of the same name.
Those Injected With It
Note: This excludes Dexter's victims that he later killed after using it on them.
- Debra Morgan - Brian Moser used it on her so she would pass out, saying it was a "Homage to a fellow traveler I admire." Dexter Morgan also used it on her to prevent her from confessing to LaGuerta's murder.
- Dexter - Brian also used it on him, so that he could "have a beer with him". Travis Marshall also later uses it on Dexter, taking advantage of his disoriented state.
- Jimmy Sensio - Dexter used the M99 on him, and attempted to kill him, but he found that he couldn't.
- Little Chino - Dexter used two needles on him, likely for comedic effect. Dexter did end up killing him later, though long after this was done.
- Lexi - Lila West used it on her to knock her out, so she could kidnap Astor Bennett and Cody Bennett.
- Billy Fleeter - Dexter used it, though Miguel Prado was the one who killed him.
- Kyle Butler - Dexter used it on him so he could hide him from Arthur Mitchell.
- Arthur Mitchell - Dexter used it on him, and then threw him in his van. However, before Dexter could kill him he was arrested for hit and run.
- Boyd Fowler - Dexter used it on him, though before Boyd passed out, he shot Dexter in the stomach with his own animal tranquilizer.
- Lumen Pierce - Dexter used it on her when she struggled with him, despite him trying to help her.
- Robert Brunner - Dexter used it on him with the intentions of killing him. He later found out that Robert couldn't have been one of the men that raped Lumen, since he was a parolee wearing an ankle braclet, proving that he was in the same area the whole time (underneath Tuttle Bridge).
- Alex Tilden - Dexter used it, though Lumen Pierce was the one who killed him.
- Louis Greene - Dexter used it on him, because he kept screwing with his life (cancelling his credit cards and sending him the Prosthetic Arm of the Ice Truck Killer). He planned to kill Louis, but stopped, due to his promise to Debra not to kill anymore.
- Hannah McKay - Dexter used it on her, planning to kill her for her crimes (murdering her mentor and husband). However, he instinctively frees her and the two make out on the spot.
- Zach Hamilton - Dexter used it on him, planning to kill him for murdering an innocent woman, however, upon seeing the similarities between Zach and himself, he frees him and decides to teach him The Code of Harry.
- Oliver Saxon - Dexter uses it on Oliver, so that he can finally rid him and the threat he poses to those close to him. He later decides to let Debra arrest Oliver and so spares him, which results in Oliver escaping and shooting Debra in the process.
- Jacob Elway - Hannah seizes an opportunity to use it on him, allowing her to leave him unconcious in the bus, as she leaves with Harrison Morgan for her flight to South America, thus preventing him from ever catching her.
Novels and Comics
- Mustached Victim - Dexter uses it on the unnamed killer to be able to subdue and end him close and personal. (Dexter: Issue 1)