[[quoteright:234:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cyanide.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:234: [[TruthInTelevision Cyanide pill and associated neck-borne container issued to Gary Powers]], [[UsefulNotes/ColdWar 1960]]]]

->'''Chief:''' This pill, when swallowed, will bring painless death in about 20 seconds. Are there any questions?\\
'''Maxwell Smart:''' How do I get them to take it?
-->-- ''Series/GetSmart''

It takes a heroic level of dedication to be willing to die for a cause... but it takes an altogether higher (some would say crazy) level of dedication to be willing to ''kill yourself'' for a cause. Sometimes, a particularly devoted henchman will not only be willing to kill themselves, but will carry around a mechanism to do this cleanly and quickly should the need ever arise. The classic example is the Cyanide Pill carried in a hollow fake tooth -- the henchman simply opens the tooth with his tongue, bites down on the pill, and lets death embrace him.

It should be noted that this takes an altogether far higher level of devotion than that possessed by the standard {{Mook}}-for-hire. [[KnightTemplar Absolute belief in the rightness of the cause]] is necessary for someone to take this step. Therefore, it's usually employed by [[{{Cult}} cultists]] and secret agents in service to their country. However, it can also be used to imply that the BigBad is so terrifying that death is preferable to the punishment he would visit upon his henchmen for [[YouHaveFailedMe failure]]. If you are facing a FateWorseThanDeath, a Cyanide Pill would be your friend.

This one has some basis in real life -- though uncommon, various spy agencies have issued suicide pills/devices to field agents to use in case of capture. U-2 pilot Gary Powers was carrying cyanide when he was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, but opted not to use it.

Use of the cyanide pill by villainous characters may be due to the historical use of such devices by many of the high Nazi leadership at the end of WWII who chose suicide over capture and punishment by the Allied forces. (See RealLife section below for more details) UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler himself, due to paranoia that it would not be effective, took one but [[NoKillLikeOverkill opted to also shoot himself.]]

Compare SelfDestructMechanism. See also BetterToDieThanBeKilled. Compare and contrast LeaveBehindAPistol.

'''[[AC:DeathTrope]]. Spoilers ahoy.'''

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Advertising]]
* This was used for humor in a commercial for Dockers pants. The commercial showed a shifty looking fellow grabbing some papers and quickly walking his way through the corridors of a building, shadowy men in sunglasses following him all the while, just behind him. One slips into the elevator with him just as the door closes, prompting him to pop something into his mouth and audibly gulp it down. The shadowy figure leans over and says, "Nice pants." Cut to dumbfounded spy's face and the commercial ends.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/SevenSeeds'', every guide for the teams was given a cyanide pill before being put into cryo-stasis. They were given in case they awoke [[AfterTheEnd in a future]] where there was no hope of survival or flourishing aspects, a deadly disease broke out and it would cause a quicker and less painful death or in order to remove members of their teams that caused discord and enemity.
** During the Ryugu Shelter arc, cyanide pills are thought of being slipped into everyone's food and water supply after the parasitoid infection became severe. The director of the shelter was finally given one, but begged everyone to please hold up a while longer. [[spoiler: The last two remaining people, Saruwatari and Mark, have one to kill themselves after everyone else is LockedInAFreezer to hibernate the Acari X to try and stop any more infections. Saruwatari takes one after finishing his duty, where as Mark ''tries'' to take one but [[TakingYouWithMe must decide on another way]].]]
* In a chapter of ''Manga/BlackJack'', Pinoko swallows a cyanide pill that she found in the surgeon's bag, thinking it was ordinary medicine. Black Jack then has to desperately operate on Pinoko to get the pill out before its outer shell melts.
* [[NightOfTheLivingMooks The Mariages]] from ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS'' [[AllThereInTheManual Sound Stage X]] will liquify its body into a combustible liquid and immolate themselves ([[TakingYouWithMe and hopefully all nearby enemies]]) when unable to complete a mission.
* In a ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'' example of BetterToDieThanBeKilled, Ansbach bites a poison capsule he was carrying in his mouth rather than be taken alive after attempting to assassinate Reinhard, and succeeding in killing Kircheis, during his fake surrender.
* In ''Manga/OutlawStar'', Hilda seemed to use a variant of this when she (and a SpacePirate) were falling into a star. It was a very miniaturized ''bomb''.
* Played with in ''Lightnovel/FullMetalPanic: The Second Raid'', where Sōsuke is shown to be surrounded by large forces from the enemy on both sides and no ammo left, with no escape possible. AL suggests that the rational conclusion and solution is for him to activate the [[SelfDestructMechanism self destruct system]]. The idea is rejected, as Sōsuke has no intention dying that way (as he "wouldn't be able to get his school credits" that way).
* In ''Manga/DeathNote'', one person takes one after being captured by Mello [[spoiler: after a failed raid of the Mafia's headquarters, foiled by Sidoh]].
* The title character of ''Anime/ZeroZeroNineOne'' has one, but she uses it in a unique manner. After being captured, she manipulates a guard into kissing her, and while he does so, she tongues the pill into ''his'' mouth. Once the guard is dead, she picks the locks to her restraints and escapes.
* In the ''Manga/YuGiOh'' manga, Marik hypnotises Anzu and forces her to hold a pill (presumably cyanide) between her teeth. If Yugi does not duel Jonouchi, Marik will force her to swallow it. (For comparison, in the anime, a giant block of concrete was suspended above her head.)
* A cult assassin in ''Manga/TheCaseFilesOfYakushijiRyoko'' used an instant-mummification drug to kill herself after failing to poison the main character.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', the hitman that tries to kill Adrian Veidt takes one of these after his attack fails. [[spoiler:Except not really, as Veidt had secretly hired him (trusting in his own skills to keep him alive). In order to silence the unfortunate {{Mook}}, Veidt forces a cyanide pill into the his mouth while pretending he is trying to stop him committing suicide.]]
* A ''ComicBook/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtlesAdventures'' (the Archie comics) story features {{Mook}}s taking suicide pills that set their heads on fire, burning the flesh off. No reason not to do it with style...
* ''ComicBook/UsagiYojimbo'': The Neko Ninja swallow their own tongues if captured. The [[InSpace futuristic]] versions have [[SelfDestructMechanism instant]] [[KillItWithFire immolation suits]].
* Played with in ''ComicBook/TheTick'', where a secret agent tells Big Blue that his tooth is filled with deadly poison... only he's forgotten ''which'' tooth. "I try to avoid crunchy foods."
* Parodied in ''ComicBook/{{Sturmtruppen}}'' where there is revealed that the "Oldest Spy in the Army" attained such a title by taking mints instead of Cyanide pills.
* ''ComicBook/CaptainBritainAndMI13'' has a Vampire spy with a fake fang full of holy water.
* ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'': The [[BombThrowingAnarchists mad anarchist]] Ruckford uses a cyanide pill to commit suicide when he is captured by the Paternoster Street Gang after they foil his attempt to blow up Buckingham Palace in "The Crystal Throne".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' referenced this in one strip where Jason and Marcus are (as usual) going to harass Paige. In the throwaway panels Jason gives Marcus a stick of vanilla chewing gum, saying "It's the closest thing to poison I could find."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''[[http://randomactsofshark.blogspot.com/2008/01/barack-obama-and-thunder-zeppelin.html Barack Obama and the Thunder Zeppelin]]'', the Ronpaul's ''Sturmfrunten'' take a slow-acting poison before battle.
* ''Fanfic/AGrowingAffection'' has a certain villain use a jutsu that turns his blood into acid, to avoid being captured.
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallAbridged'': After a group of ChildSoldiers in space learn that Krillin and Gohan (mistaken for Frieza's {{Mooks}}) are ImmuneToBullets.
-->'''Soldier:''' Oh my god. Frieza's men are stronger than we thought. Everyone, take your cyanide tablets!\\
'''Krillin:''' But we told you, we don't know any Friez-- (''the children fall over dead'')
* In ''Fanfic/TheWrongReflection'' the {{mirror universe}} version of Kanril Eleya carries a poison capsule in a back molar in case of capture by Terran forces. Dr. Warragul Wirrpanda, the USS ''Bajor'''s chief medical officer, convinces her to let him remove it (using a [[TrademarkFavoriteFood jumja stick]] as a bribe) and identifies the contents as promazine, a poison issued by the Obsidian Order to their operatives in the prime universe. He also puts the lie to the Obsidian Order's {{canon}}ical claim that it kills painlessly, saying that "it feels like your whole head is on fire until you cark it."
-->'''Dal Kanril:''' ''(narrating)'' Despite my brave face to Damar, [[RapeAsDrama I know what the Terrans do to female prisoners]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Contact}}'', Jodie Foster's character is given a suicide pill to use if anything goes wrong, such as being marooned or an incomprehensible Fate Worse than Death. According to the film, every NASA astronaut and test pilot is given one of these, for emergencies where dying quickly would be a mercy. In his book ''Lost Moon'', Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell mentioned that this had been a rumor for some time, and that it was not true -- it would be much easier simply to open the main hatch and depressurize the spacecraft.
* ''Film/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'', film version: in the very beginning, one of the enemy {{Mook}}s kills himself this way after being caught by Alan Quartermain.
* ''Film/JamesBond'':
** In ''Film/DrNo'', the enemy driver kills himself with a cyanide cigarette.
** ''Film/{{Thunderball}}''. BondGirl Paula Kaplan takes cyanide rather than face interrogation by SPECTRE thugs. In a cruel irony, James Bond would have arrived in time to save her if she hadn't.
** In ''Film/LicenceToKill'', a Hong Kong narcotics agent bites down on one when confronted by Sanchez for questioning.
** In ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'', the Cigar Girl Assassin blows herself up rather than face arrest from MI6, or worse yet, punishment (for failing to kill Bond) from Renard.
** In ''Film/DieAnotherDay'', M asks Bond why he didn't take his pill when captured. Bond answers he got rid of it years ago.
** Raoul Silva in ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'' attempted to commit suicide using a cyanide implant in one of his molars during his capture, torture and imprisonment by the Chinese after M's betrayal. The suicide attempt failed, horrifically scarring Silva both mentally and physically. It should be noted that's [[ArtisticLicenseChemistry not how cyanide works]]. Which may or may not have been the point.
** Bond is supplied with a cyanide pill hidden in his briefcase o' tricks in the book ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove''. He flushes it down the toilet.
* An especially chilling film variant in the German film ''Film/{{Downfall}}'' has Goebbels' wife drugging her six children to sleep and then crushing a cyanide pill between their teeth as they're asleep, killing them all: she knows that Adolf Hitler's reign is coming to an end, and believes that a world without the Nazis is not worth it for her children. The fact that the scene displays a historical fact arguably makes it all that much worse.[[note]]On the other side, Jewish families often did this during the war. Many parents poisoned their children and then themselves rather than allow them to be subjected to the horrors of the concentration camps. Arguably, the most famous example is that of famed cartoonist (of ''ComicBook/{{Maus}}'' fame) Art Speigleman's older brother Richieu, who died this way while in the care of an aunt.[[/note]]
* The Predators of ''Film/{{Predator}}'' and its sequels carry a suicide SelfDestructMechanism. Considering they choose to hunt [[Franchise/{{Alien}} xeno]][[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong morphs]], and humans who would reverse-engineer any captured technology, it's probably a good idea.
* Used twice in ''Telefon'' (1977), the first time by a ManchurianAgent (leading to much puzzlement among the CIA as to how a typical American housewife got hold of an obsolete Soviet suicide pill) and the second time by the KGB protagonist to kill a RenegadeRussian (first he throttles him, them to make sure he places a pill between the man's teeth and slams his hand against the jaw to crush it).
* ''Film/LustCaution'': Wong Chia-chi is given one when she joins a Chinese Nationalist cell in occupied Shanghai. When she is about to face capture by the Japanese, she reaches for it but decides to allow herself to be captured alive.
* ''Remo Williams'', the film of ''Literature/TheDestroyer'' series; Harold W. Smith of CURE keeps a pill in his pocket at all times. If CURE becomes compromised, he takes the pill to cause a "massive coronary" (heart attack).
* In ''Film/{{Fallen}}'', John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) lures Azazel (possessing his partner) out to a distant cabin in order to kill him. As the partner dies, Azazel laughs because he can easily take over John Hobbes once his host body passes. But John is smoking poison-laced cigarettes...
* One of the Mongol Warriors in ''Film/TheShadow'' deliberately falls to his death rather than betray Shiwan Kahn.
* One of ''Film/{{Salt}}'''s alternate endings has Salt using fake teeth filled with cyanide... [[spoiler:which turned out to be fake -- it's easier to escape an emergency room than a captivity room.]]
* [[EliteMooks Neo-Vipers]] in ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'' have a nanomite suicide function that can also rapidly break down their bodies. It's uncertain whether they can activate this, but the Doctor certainly can.
* In ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', Heinz Kruger, the HYDRA soldier who shoots Dr. Erskine, kills himself with cyanide hidden in a fake tooth when he's captured by Steve. According to Colonel Phillips later in the movie, every HYDRA soldier the Howling Commandos of the 107th Infantry manage to capture does the same thing. [[spoiler:Except [[ReluctantMadScientist Dr. Arnim Zola]], which tips Phillips off that Zola is willing to bargain for his life.]]
* In the film version of ''[[Film/DangerDiabolik Diabolik]]'', the protagonist [[FakingTheDead fakes his death]] by taking a pill that puts him in [[FauxDeath suspended animation]] for 12 hours; the police assume he did this trope and take him to the morgue, where his GirlFriday administers the antidote.
* In the CrapsackWorld of ''Film/ChildrenOfMen'', the government issues free suicide pills called Quietus.
* In ''Literature/OnTheBeach'', the Australian government hands out suicide pills so their citizens can avoid the painful, and inevitable, death by radiation poisoning.
* In "Film/FailSafe" the crewmembers of American bombers have a variation. Since taking off your mask and taking a pill would be difficult, they have a poison needle in a special pocket of their flight suits.
* ''Film/GetSmart'' repeats the gag from the page quote, with Agent 99 replacing the Chief. In this version Max was just being facetious.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Gamebooks]]
* In the ''Literature/LoneWolf'' book ''Dawn of the Dragons'', an assassin questioned by Lone Wolf uses a poison pellet hidden in a tooth to kill himself -- but also to liberate a DeadlyGas in the cell, trying to [[TakingYouWithMe take the hero with him]]. Lone Wolf can shrug off the effects thanks to his Nexus power.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** A little over halfway through the novel ''Discworld/{{Thud}}'', Sam Vimes is attacked in his home by agents of the "deep down" dwarves he suspects of trying to cover up a murder. One of the dwarfish agents survives and is captured, but not for long, as Vimes discovers the dwarf has succumbed to a slow-acting poison he and the others took before going on their mission.
** In ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'', a captured enemy spy does his best to eat the military secrets he's been entrusted with, conveniently written on rice paper. A few moments later the spy dies, and the good guys realize the manual was poisoned. His orders to eat the papers were not only intended to protect the manual, but also to execute the hapless spy.
* ''Literature/{{Dune}}'': Duke Leto is betrayed by Dr. Yueh, but the doctor gives him a poison-gas tooth so he can kill Baron Harkonnen, the Duke's enemy. This makes Leto something of a kamikaze -- but an unsuccessful one, as the gas only kills Harkonnen's advisor.
%%* ''Literature/IAmLegend''. The novel, not the movie.
* In the ''Literature/{{Destroyer}}'' series of novels, Dr. Smith has a Cyanide pill in a false tooth. He would swallow it if C.U.R.E.'s security is ever breached.
* In the DarkerAndEdgier ''Literature/TheHardyBoys Casefiles'' series, the boys had a recurring nemesis in the Assassins, all of whom were equipped with a poison tooth. This led to a situation where Joe was rushing towards an Assassin, when he realizes said character is having a problem getting his tooth out. So he ''[[CrowningMomentOfAwesome punches it out of the guy's mouth]]''.
* The protagonist of the ''Literature/{{Quiller}}'' spy novels refuses to carry a suicide pill because he's Suffix 9 (Reliable Under Torture), though he changes his mind in the later novels.
* ''Literature/OnTheBeach'': In the [[AfterTheEnd aftermath]] of an apocalyptic nuclear war, with fallout having killed most of the globe and spreading southward, the Australian government provides cyanide pills to its citizens so that they need not die slowly of radiation poisoning.
* In another AfterTheEnd novel (can't remember the name) the government has issued a standard kit of two syringes -- one containing the poison, and the other an antidote in case you change your mind. However to reduce the unpleasant side effects of the poison it also contains a narcotic, and a character points out that once someone takes it, the feeling of euphoria is so pleasant few people are inclined to take the antidote.
* In William King's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} SpaceWolf'' novel ''Wolfblade'', they find an assassin dead of poison -- causing Ragnor to comment on what a fanatic the assassin must have been. The possibility of mindcontrol is brought up.
* In Peter F. Hamilton's ''[[Literature/NightsDawn Night's Dawn Trilogy]]'', a protagonist is surrounded by hordes of [[TheVirus possessed]] whose modus operandi is to torture people until they lose the will to live and allow themselves to be possessed. To avoid that fate and pull a TakingYouWithMe, she issues a "kamikaze code" to her PoweredArmor, blowing herself and her attackers up.
* Some cultists in David Eddings's ''Literature/TheMalloreon'' series come with an automatic, magical one preinstalled; upon being asked a certain question, the one who gets interrogated goes mad and throws himself off a cliff, laughing maniacally all the way.
* A similar magical method, called "death-triggers" is used in the ''Literature/{{Deryni}}'' novels.
* Creator/LRonHubbard's ''Literature/BattlefieldEarth'' (the book, not the movie) has this with high-ranking Psychlos. Anyone who knows their classified, encrypted math system gets some brainwashing and an implant in his brain. If he attempts to teach the secret to any other race, a fuse blows and his mind is fried.
* In ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' ''The Hork-Bajir Chronicles'' the Arn bioengineer themselves to die if they are taken over by a yeerk.
* In ''[[Literature/SmallChange Half a Crown]]'', an AlternateHistory novel in which Britain made peace with Hitler rather than fight World War II, the leader of the British secret police has formed a group ''inside'' the secret police that defies the government by doing things like smuggling Jews out of the country. All members have a false tooth implanted with a cyanide pill so they can take it rather than be forced to betray the others.
* In ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' "Torch of Freedom", the protagonists realize that something is seriously screwy with the Mesa Corporation when one of their agents resorts to this rather than be captured. Victor Cachat also carries one everywhere he goes; other spies find this somewhat excessive.
* Subverted in the novel ''Literature/FromRussiaWithLove''. The world's quintessential spy, Literature/JamesBond, is issued a cyanide pill with his kit. He flushes it down the toilet at the first opportunity.
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'' novel ''Death Masks'', Nicodemus' fanatics are equipped with cyanide pills in case of arrest. They end up chomping down on them when defeated and handcuffed.
* In A.C. Crispin's [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Han Solo novels]], it's once mentioned that Rebel agents carry suicide pills. One of them, [[spoiler: Han's ex-girlfriend Bria Tharen,]] has hers put on the collar of her armor, in case she ends up too badly hurt to put it into her mouth.
** Noghri commandos in ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'' have some kind of suicide mechanism.
-->''"My duty is to obey my orders. ''All'' of my orders."\\
Leia frowned. Something about the way he'd said that... and abruptly, she knew what it was. For a captured commando facing interrogation, there could be only one order left to follow.''
* In the ''Literature/TortallUniverse'', suicide spells are sometimes used to avoid truthspells or torture
* In the third ''Literature/TheHungerGames'' novel, ''Mockingjay'', Katniss has one of these and attempts to use it, but is stopped.
* ''A Piece of Resistance'', a novel by Clive Egleton set in a [[AlternateHistory Soviet-occupied Britain]]. Two members of LaResistance are caught by a counter-intelligence agent. The woman bites down on her cigarette and suddenly falls to the ground. It turns out there is no suicide pill; she was simply [[WeNeedADistraction creating a distraction]] so her partner could attack the agent. Ironically at the end of the novel the same woman is stopped by police and bites down on a suicide pill she's carrying in her mouth -- it turns out that her papers were in order and it was simply a routine check.
* The title character of ''[[Literature/FirebirdTrilogy Firebird]]'' was sent to war ''under orders'' to kill herself in the line of duty (Members of the royal family more than four places from the throne traditionally suicide so as to prevent succession disputes. With the recent birth of her niece, she was now fifth in line for the throne). After failing to get shot down, and failing to kamikaze into a mountain, she takes poison as she is tractored into an enemy warship so that she cannot be interrogated. Her captors realize that she'd taken poison almost immediately and manage to keep her alive.
* In ''Literature/PathOfTheFury'', all members of the Imperial Cadre have suicide devices built into their cybernetic implants that trigger automatically if they are captured. The system is so sensitive that a friendly medic accidentally sets off Alicia's when trying to get basic diagnostic data. Fortunately, the suicide device shut off after the doctor stopped examining the hardware (but not before she nearly killed one of the other surgeons on reflex).
* ''Literature/TheAdversaryCycle'' "Nightworld". A member of an AncientConspiracy which helps bring about TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt carries a vial of cyanide in case the UltimateEvil doesn't hold up [[WeCanRuleTogether his end of the bargain]]. After watching TheSwarm chomp on his compatriots without any word from his master he realises he's well and truly screwed and takes out his vial...only for it to be sent flying when something nasty takes a bite out of his arm. The rest of the nasty chewing things are on top of him before he can pick it up again.
* What's left of the U.S. Marines in ''Day-by-Day Armageddon'' carry home-made cyanide pills in case they end up parachuting into a gaggle of zombies. One of them notes that a few of his comrades screwed up the cooking process and, rather than dying, only ended up paralyzed as the zombies closed in on them.
* Subverted in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}: Literature/{{Eisenhorn}}'' trilogy, where a captured {{Mook}} commits ''unintentional'' suicide when Eisenhorn tries to interrogate him, thanks to an implanted bomb in his head set to go off if the bearer even ''thinks'' of revealing a certain piece of information.
* The people in ''Literature/TheNightLand'' and ''Literature/AwakeInTheNightLand'' have one in their arms when they venture to the titular Night Land. It is to be bitten in a hopeless situation, in order to prevent their soul from being Destroyed by the creatures of the Night. Dying this way at least people are able to reincarnate again.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', ''Shield'', Chloe is revealed to have taken one when she is taken by [[GovernmentConspiracy Checkmate]], to the devastation of [[PlatonicLifePartners Clark]] and [[LoveInterest Oliver]]. [[spoiler:Turned out she faked her death.]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS14E6TheTalonsOfWengChiang "The Talons of Weng-Chiang"]], a member of the Black Scorpion Tong, after being captured by the police, commits suicide with a scorpion venom pill to avoid revealing anything under interrogation. Weng-Chiang forces another Tong member [[YouHaveFailedMe to commit suicide after he makes a mistake]], laughing maniacally as the man dies in agony.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS21E6TheCavesOfAndrozani "The Caves of Androzani"]], mercenary gunrunner Stotz is confronted by one of his men demanding payment. Stotz forces him to the ground at knifepoint and takes out a pill.
--->'''Stotz:''' The boss gave me one of these. Ten seconds he said. Let's see if it works. ''(shoves it in the mook's mouth, who tries to swallow it whole but Stotz jams a fist over his throat)'' COME ON YOU SLUT! BITE! BITE! BITE! ''(lets him go)'' Next time, it'll be for real.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS34E5TimeHeist "Time Heist"]], the Doctor assumes the syringes they find are "atom shredders" meant to painlessly kill anyone caught by the Teller. He calls them an "escape route... of a sort." [[spoiler:In fact, they're a more conventional escape route: they teleport the user to a spaceship in orbit.]]
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''. The Orion spy uses one of these in "Journey to Babel," right after his comrades blow up their ship with their SelfDestructMechanism.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. Romulan defector Admiral Jarok kills himself by ingesting a felodesine chip which he brought with him.
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'':
** Vorta diplomats each carry a termination "button" in their jawline to negate any attempt at interrogation. Ordinary poison wouldn't do the trick, since Vorta are designed at birth to be immune to most toxins. The implant sends a signal to Vorta's brainstem, triggering a quick, ''profoundly'' painful death (the Founders told the Vorta their deaths would be painless, but this was [[FalseReassurance proven to be bogus]]). During his attempt to defect to the Federation, Weyoun 6 is dogged around space by Dominion agents, who demand that he kill himself. He finally relents when a Jem'Hadar fleet threaten to open fire on the runabout shuttle he was sharing with Odo. ("Treachery, Faith, and the Great River")
** In the episode "Extreme Measures", Sloan, an agent of the very secretive Section 31, triggers a "neuro-depolarizing device" when he's captured by Dr. Bashir. This not only kills him but starts destroying his brain and all the secrets within; Bashir has to delay this process long enough to get some crucial information from Sloan's mind.
** There are ''three'' appearances of a cyanide pill in ''Deep Space Nine''; the third is Promazine, a literal pill of Cardassian origin, which not only kills someone but causes their body to crumble into dust within a few hours, [[DeaderThanDead leaving no trace]]. ("Covenant")
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** The captain of a renegade Minbari warship, which broke from its government when they called for surrender at the Battle of the Line, turns himself in to B5 authorities, then takes a poison pill hidden in a tooth. His crew had planned to use his death, ostensibly at Human hands, to provoke a war. When another, loyal Minbari warship arrives and disables the rogue vessel (without killing, as Minbari do not kill other Minbari), the crew of the renegade activate a self-destruct.
** Psi Corps operatives do this too, with a with a nice little rant about "the future".
* The TV series ''Series/MartialLaw'' does this in a particularly disturbing way. A few episodes deal with a cult whose {{Mook}}s carry a Cyanide Pill that's surgically embedded in their pinky finger. When cornered, they break their finger (with a sickening ''crick'' noise), the pill breaks along with the bones and kills them very quickly indeed. It doesn't take long before this is used as a nonstandard PressurePoint, by both the good guys (after establishing [[WhatMeasureIsAMook how hard it is to take them alive]]) and other [[KlingonPromotion members]].
* An episode of ''Series/GetSmart'' has Maxwell Smart and KAOS Agent Seigfried compare their suicide contingencies. Smart has a raspberry-flavored cyanide pill. ("Care for a taste? It's all right, it's not addictive.") Seigfried says he has a "suicide ring". It works through his wife. ("She says if I ever take it off, she'll kill me.") In the 2008 movie, Max is reminded of the pill in his belt buckle, but in a subverted ChekhovsGun, it never gets used.
* ''Series/AlloAllo'':
** Parodied in an episode where suicide pills are slipped to René as he is imprisoned by Herr Flick. When he (and the Colonel and Captain) swallow the pills, they don't work.
** An episode near the show's finale (when the Nazis are becoming increasingly worried at the possibility of an Allied invasion) had General Von Klinkenhoffen provide Gruber and the Colonel with "suicide teeth", ridiculous looking dentures that served the same function when bitten down hard. Those didn't work either.
* ''Series/FoylesWar''. In "The Funk Hole" the murderer steals a cyanide pill kept by one character in case of a German invasion and uses it to fake another man's suicide.
* The heroine in the 1979 mini-series ''A Man Called Intrepid'' had one of these hidden inside a hollow tooth. When she's caught by German soldiers in the woods they make sure to knock her out so she doesn't have time to use it.
* An episode of ''Series/BlackAdder'' features unspecified suicide pills which only kill after a characteristic set of mood swings forming an OverlyLongGag -- deep depression, incredible anger, [[AttentionDeficitOohShiny total forgetfulness]], exquisite happiness, then [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking jumping into a corner]]. Naturally, Blackadder cons his enemies into accidentally taking them rather than using them himself. [[spoiler:Except for the fact that he learns immediately afterwards that they were undercover and really on his side.]]
* In the ''Series/TheCloser'' episode "Time Bomb", when the police arrive to arrest one of a group of NietzscheWannabe[=s=] planning a massacre, he takes several antidepressants before they cuff him. At the station, they let him get a chocolate bar from a vending machine, not knowing that the chocolate, combined with the antidepressant overdose, will kill him mid-interrogation.
* In the ''Series/{{Life}}'' episode "Hit Me Baby", an assassin pretends she's about to swallow a suicide pill, so that when an officer rushes over to stop her, she spits the pill right down his throat.
* The [=UnSub=] in the aptly-titled ''Series/CriminalMinds'' episode "Poison" takes a fatal dose of botulism before he's arrested so that he dies before the agents can finish interrogating him.
* In ''Series/TheInside'' episode "Point of Origin", a serial arsonist being interrogated sets himself on fire by pouring the interrogator's pitcher of water on himself (before turning himself in to the FBI, he had doused himself with a chemical that ignites when combined with water).
* In ''Series/TheAgency'', the CIA provides a Russian scientist with a poison injection device disguised as a ballpoint pen. It was established that a squad of Russian security agents were hunting down those communicating information to the west, and shoving them into lit furnaces; punishment for traitors. The pen was meant to be a merciful option if the scientist was caught. Instead, the scientist used the pen as a weapon to take out the last boss agent.
* In a [[RippedFromTheHeadlines right-to-die]] episode of ''Series/LawAndOrder'' the defendant's Kavorkian-esque father drinks poison before his court appearance, which gives him enough time to claim responsibility before dying.
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' Season 3: CTU distributes suicide pills to people who have been exposed to a deadly virus for which there is no cure, so if they want they can die without suffering the painful effects of the virus.
* In one episode of ''Series/TheManFromUNCLE'', Ilya fakes taking one of these as part of an elaborate scam aimed at an enemy diplomat.
* In the new ''Series/{{V 2009}}'' series, all Visitors living among humans carry a pill that not only kills them but also incinerates their bodies within seconds in order to hide that they're TheReptilians.
* In the popular Soviet series ''Series/SeventeenMomentsOfSpring'', a man is recruited as an informant by Stirlits (Soviet spy in Nazi Germany) and given a suicide pill hidden in a cigarette, an obvious ChekhovsGun. He is later cornered by Nazi counter-intelligence agents and proceeds to take the pill... and jump out the window for good measure.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** In one episode, a Tok'ra agent caught by a BountyHunter attempts to poison himself, unsuccessfully. The hunter is surprised that a Goa'uld would do something like that (not realizing the difference between the two factions).
** The weapons used by [[ManchurianAgent za'tarcs]] include an explosive self-destruct.
** As revealed in "The Tomb" (much to O'Neill's disgust), the Russian teams sent through the Stargate were each given a cyanide pill in case they couldn't return.
* ''Series/HawaiiFiveO'': In the original's pilot "Cocoon", Steve [=McGarrett=] is given a cyanide pill as part of props for the plot to convince enemy agents that he's "Control" -the head of government secret agents on the island.
* When shapeshifter lieutenant Thomas Jerome Newton is captured on ''Series/{{Fringe}}'', Alt-livia gives him a capsule that melts him into a puddle before he can be forced to talk.
* On ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' hosted by Richard Pryor, Pryor plays a military officer being sent on a dangerous mission. He's being told what he'll be "taking" on the mission but misunderstands when the man briefing him says "Oh, and take that pill." Pryor swallows it and only then is told it's a suicide pill.
* In ''Series/AgentCarter'', SSR chief Dooley travels to Nuremberg to interrogate a Nazi imprisoned there and sentenced to be hanged. Dooley offers him a cyanide pill to die quicker and without the risk of mis-hanging if the Nazi spills about some classified information. A minute later, though, it turns out Dooley was lying; it was just a breath mint.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic's "Party in the CIA" mentions them among the singer's equipment.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* Spoofed in the movie ''Film/TeamAmericaWorldPolice''. When Gary is being briefed for his first mission, Spottswoode prepares him for the fact that, if he is captured, he might want to take his own life. To that end, he supplies him with... a hammer.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' adventure path ''Curse of the Crimson Throne'', Red Mantis Assassins can choose to disintegrate themselves when killed, making them [[DeathIsCheap harder to resurrect]] or interrogate posthumously (which is the important bit, since only the willing can be resurrected).
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
** The 3.5 book ''Exemplars of Evil'' has the evil spell "Infallible Servant", which insure that a minion will not fall into enemy hands, by making it dissolves into a foul sludge if he's captured (or killed, making it very hard to resurrect).
** The Keepers, an Outsider race described in the ''Fiend Folio'', have this as a ''racial trait''. If they are captured or pinned down for more than 10 rounds, they dissolve into a puddle of poison.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the game ''VideoGame/ReturnToCastleWolfenstein'', your character does have a cyanide pill in his inventory, and he can use it, but there's never any real reason why he should. Your fellow secret agent companion takes his during a cutscene in the beginning of the game rather than suffer the horrors of Nazi interrogation.
* ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater'':
** Snake hides a pill on his person in the event that he's captured by the Russians. However, it's not a death pill, it's a potassium cyanide capsule that merely ''dulls'' his vital signs to appear dead. After the enemies inspect his body and leave, he can activate his Revive pill hidden in his tooth and come back to life, complete with the "Game Over" music playing backwards. Snake needs to activate his Revive pill fairly quickly, otherwise he dies for real. The Revival pill is also key to solving a PuzzleBoss: During a particularly trippy boss "fight", Snake is inevitably killed... but [[FissionMailed his inventory is still accessible]].
** Every single female mook [[NoBodyLeftBehind gets one of the Cardassian varieties]], much to the dismay of every red-blooded male playing. Kojima is an epic troll.
** The character Revolver Ocelot has a capsule holder around his neck, only it contains the bullet he failed to kill Snake with. He's still wearing it fifty years later. No ''wonder'' people ship Ocelot and Big Boss.
** The microbombs implanted in the main bosses fit this trope to a tee.
* ''VideoGame/SwordOfVermilion'' features an item called Banshee Powder. You take it, and it kills you, bringing you back to the last church you visited. However, it's quite advantageous to use it in situations you can't get yourself out of without dying (such as being poisoned and too far away from town), as you don't have to pay the church a fee if you use banshee powder.
* In ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'', there is a counter-ops mode that uses the same levels as in the one player mode but gives the other player control over one of the mooks. When the mook dies, the player gets control of the next mook. If the current mook is too far from the action, they can use a suicide pill to switch to the next.
* In ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'', revolutionary leader Salvador Limones has a suicide pill implanted in a fake tooth that kills not only himself, but anyone else too close to him when he uses it.
* A minor boss early in ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword]]'', Beyard, takes poison after he's defeated. Granted, it's made explicit that if he failed and ''wasn't'' killed in battle, his superiors would [[YouHaveFailedMe kill him]]. The Black Fang's just [[BadBoss nasty like that]].
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', [[MadScientist Mordin]] [[DeadlyDoctor Solus]] makes an offhand comment that while updating the Cerberus crew's dental records, he found out they are outfitted with cyanide capsules in a tooth. He finds them crude in comparison to the [[YourHeadAsplode ocular nerve flashbangs]] that salarian agents are apparently outfitted with. It turns out in the third game that Cerberus was listening to that particular conversation.
* In the ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' [[YouMeanXmas Crimbo]] 2009 event, members of the Elvish Resistance dropped suicide pills made of ''sugar''. A small pill containing ''enough sugar to kill one of Santa's elves''. Even the narrator is astonished.
* In the "bad" ending of ''VideoGame/WingCommander Secret Ops'' (fail to destroy the command ship before it opens the gate to Nephilim space), the captain of the ''Cerberus'' tells pilots there's a pill beneath their seat that will kill them, so they don't have to experience the horror of [[HordeOfAlienLocusts endless waves of aliens overrunning the universe]].
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'', the Blackwood Ring of Silence is a magical version; a ring that deals massive amounts of fire damage. To the ''wearer''.
* Type "[[CriticalExistenceFailure kill]]" or "[[LudicrousGibs explode]]" into the client log of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' and you will bid farewell, cruel world. You can even assign the command to a key for convenience. This actually has a function in-game, in the event that you [[GameBreakingBug get stuck]]. Really funny when a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xq6mvCf-T8#t=05m12s poor sap]] doesn't know how to do this when he needs to.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Penumbra}}: Black Plague'', it's revealed that members of an underground complex were issued cyanide pills in case they got contaminated with the stuff they were researching. Way, way better fate than letting the contamination run its course.
* [[spoiler:Dio]] has one in ''VideoGame/VirtuesLastReward''. In [[spoiler:Alice's ending, when Clover takes it out of his pocket and questions him about it, he asks to get a closer look, and grabs it with his teeth. Subverted in both Sigma's and Phi's endings, where Sigma and the others stopped him from taking it by dogpiling on him and injecting him with Soporil.]]
* Choosing the "Kill Yourself" option in ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV Grand Theft Auto Online]]'' when you have a silencer attachment on the standard pistol will have your character consume a pill and die in a hurry, as opposed to the character simply capping themselves.
* ''VideoGame/TombRaiderII'': A {{Mook}} at the end of the first level drinks poison from a flask after he flubs his assassination attempt and Lara incapacitates him easily, but not before toasting his master... giving Lara the exact lead she needed anyway.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novel]]
* In a particularly sad example, Terry Fawles in the third ''VisualNovel/PhoenixWrightAceAttorney'' game drinks the poison in Dahlia Hawthorne's bottle necklace before going to trial because they promised each other that if they doubted their love for each other, they would drink from it. Of course, Dahlia didn't drink it [[spoiler: because she never loved Terry like he loved her. She was just using him as a scapegoat to commit her crimes and since he was easily swayed by his love for her and would do anything she asked of him, including killing himself. He dies during the trial when the main characters are close to solving the case -thus implicating Dahlia- with his testimony.]] It was this case that affected Mia Fey very greatly and was foreshadowed in the first game.
* In ''VisualNovel/VirtuesLastReward'', after being exposed as the one who planted multiple bombs in the facility, [[spoiler:Dio]] tries to commit suicide with one. In the Alice ending it works, while in the Sigma ending it doesn't.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'', this takes the form of the demons, called "seeds" that can be implanted into fae creaures, intentionally or by force. A demon tainted drow that needs a quick method to die and possibly take others with them can intentional release their seed, killing themselves, well giving the demon free range of their body, transforming them into mindless killing machines. [[spoiler:Syphile]] was told to do this if she failed to kill [[spoiler:Quain'tana]], but she was unable to follow through and died at the hands of her target.
* ''Webcomic/AnsemRetort'': Zexion used to carry a stash of these for impromptu {{Mercy Kill}}s. [[MinorInjuryOverreaction Or if someone was bothering him]]. Until Namine switched them with Mentos.
* In ''WebComic/GirlGenius'', Moloch von Zinzer is offered one when he's about to be sent to a particularly nasty prison/forced-labor camp. He takes it but doesn't use it, and now that he's back in the story many readers suspect it's a ChekhovsGun. Given all the [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20031126 stuff]] [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20031128 that]] [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20090216 von Zinzer drinks]] one has to wonder if the poison actually would kill him... or even if he's already tried to take it. Also, the Castle [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20100910 already have]] a ''dispenser'' with this stuff anyway.
* In an early ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' comic, Tagon attempted to interrogate the captain of an alien terrorist ship that Petey captured, he requested some suicide pills and hot cocoa. Turned out that he didn't need the suicide pills due to his species' allergy to chocolate. In the following comic Tagon and Petey discovered that his species was also fatally allergic to tea, coffee, and alcohol. The captive actually added "suicide pill" into his request for otherwise ordinary (for humans) refreshments, knowing that Tagon would notice and refuse it but possibly allow the rest of them. That makes the move a CensorDecoy in the form of a BreadEggsMilkSquick.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/SamAndFuzzy''. Fuzzy is sent in alone to perform a burglary and finds something resembling a Cyanide Pill in his equipment... Which turns out to be a jelly bean. In the event of his capture, he is to eat it as a reminder that if he keeps his mouth shut, he can have the rest of the bag afterward.
* ''Webcomic/{{Nodwick}}'s'' union "health plan" consists of a vial in a number of "flavors", including cyanide and hemlock. Of course he gets resurrected half a dozen times an arc regardless of whether he uses it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In the review of ''Film/BatmanAndRobin'', WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic was removed from all his methods of suicide, but they forgot his Cyanide Pill. It didn't take long for him to try to consume it... and gets thwarted by the security guard.
-->'''Robin:''' I want a car! Chicks dig the car!\\
'''Batman:''' This is why Superman works alone...\\
'''Critic:''' (''pauses, tries to pop the pill'')
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "Off Balance", Batman corners two of Count Vertigo's henchmen, who gas themselves to death using a hidden catch in their masks rather than allow themselves to be captured. Batman later explains to Commissioner Gordon that they had "erased their own memories" when cornered, but from the way they're drawn convulsing and ending up with vacant dead stares on their faces, it's obvious that only the NeverSayDie clause kept their demise from being outright stated.
* ''WesternAnimation/ChrisColorado'':
** [[FacelessGoons Thanors]] have literal kill switches installed behind their ears and are seen using them in some episodes.
** Similarly when he fights agents from the Council of Shadows, they would rather inhale "coma gas" than surrender.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', "Love-Bheits": It is revealed that HeroicComedicSociopath Brock Samson has a false tooth loaded with arsenic, which he offers to Dr. Venture when they are captured by Baron Underbheit. Hank and Dean think this is the coolest thing ever, until they agree that a cherry Italian ice tooth would be even better.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'': Homer is caught by Mr. Burns trying to sneak into his mansion. He almost takes a cyanide pill, but Burns mistakes Homer for a magazine editor and allows him inside, stopping him from doing so. (He then tries to take it again when Burns says they'll be doing "a little walking".)
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'' when an assassin, who's also [[CerealViceReward a genericized breakfast cereal leprechaun]], takes one of his "cyanide marshmallows". There's one in every box!
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** Parodied as UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler and Eva Braun do a NoYouHangUpFirst routine ([[DontExplainTheJoke only instead of hanging up a phone, it's taking a]] Cyanide Pill.)
** In "Lois Comes Out of a Shell", Stewie's evil turtle Sheldon is screwing up everyone's lives. One of his plans was to switch out Meg's cyanide pill with an Alka-Seltzer tablet.
** In "Mr. & Mrs. Stewie", Penelope force-feeds a kid a pill when he picks on Stewie.
* Parodied in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''. Cartman came up with a plan to rig the election, and once the other kids find out Butters is involved, he takes a peanut M&M (allergies). He starts foaming at the mouth and appears to die, but merely ends up in the hospital with a swollen face.
* ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim''
** Zim has a SelfDestructMechanism in the first episode, but opts not to use it once he realizes no-one will ever believe [[AgentMulder Dib]] [[TheMasquerade that he's an alien]].
** In the episode [[LotusEaterMachine Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom]], after Zim gives up upon capture, he commands GIR to self destruct, possibly to keep any secrets GIR might have known out of human hands.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' short "Lefty", the [[spoiler: aliens controlling the left-sided robot]] all... disappeared this way.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'', Princess Bubblegum has cyanide laced gum stuck to the bottom of a table. She tells someone to chew it if raiders break down the door.
* A mother instructs her family in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' to take their cyanide pills when they believe that [[BadSanta Santa Claus]], the "father of all lies and the uncle of all tricks", has broken into their home to kill them.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In 1985, serial killer Leonard Lake swallowed a hidden cyanide pill while in police custody, rather than face trial for his crimes.
* All members, from the leader to the grunts, of the terrorist/guerilla Tamil Tigers organization wore a cyanide capsule on a string around their neck in case of capture.
* Many of ThoseWackyNazis.
** Hermann Göring committed suicide with a potassium cyanide capsule the night before he was to be hanged, embarassing the U.S. Army prison guards that were supposed to stop that sort of thing from happening.
** Heinrich Himmler committed suicide in this manner shortly after being captured by the British.
** UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler resorted to a combination of Cyanide Pill and shooting himself (along with his wife), in case the pills failed to work -- even though he had witnessed a poison pill successfully kill his dog, Blondi. His wife Eva Braun was content to rely on the pill only.
** Joseph and Magda Goebbels slipped their ''children'' cyanide pills in their dinner, and actually ''force-fed one'' to their eldest daughter because she knew what was going on. This was all because they didn't want their children to live in a world without Nazism.
** Robert Ritter von Greim, the Luftwaffe's last commander, also took cyanide while in U.S. custody after learning he was about to be [[FateWorseThanDeath handed over to the Soviet Union]] in an exchange of prisoners.
** Invoked by the Nazis on Erwin Rommel. After they found out he was a co-conspirator in the July 20 plot to kill Hitler, they gave him a choice: Either he could face trial (which would be ''bad news'' for him and his family), or he could quietly commit suicide with a cyanide pill, in which case it would be officially stated that he died as a hero, he would be given a military funeral, and his family would receive pensions from the German government. Needless to say, he took the pill.
** Several people involved in or even distantly connected with the July 20 plot who were not arrested and/or executed killed themselves, some by cyanide capsules, such as Field Marshal von Kluge (who was merely aware of the plot, not an active participant).
* Kim Hyun-hee and her elderly mentor were given cigarettes soaked in cyanide to use if they were captured after their attempt to blow up Korean Air Flight 858 as part of a North Korean terrorist mission. They were caught; her mentor died, but the cigarette only sickened Kim for some days.
* The assassins' guild known as the Black Hand, despite sparking World War I, were on the whole outlandishly incompetent. After they'd, through [[ForWantOfANail pure coincidence]], managed to kill Archduke Ferdinand, it turned out the cyanide pills they'd reserved for their capture ''failed to work.'' This becomes understandable when you realize the context. Firstly, it is a common mistake to believe that the group that directly attacked Ferdinand's motorcade was the Black Hand. It wasn't; it was actually a small Anarchist/Nationalist (yes, go figure) group called Young Bosnia, which was one of the smaller, local groups known as the Black Hand (actually Unity or Death in the native Serbian) co-opted to act as a proxy. The Black Hand itself was horrifically effective (their spate of assassinations in Bosnia, Austria, and Bulgaria shows as much), but the higher ups grossly doubted the competence of YB (and not entirely unjustly), and so they gave them secondhand gear. That, and consider the fact that the Black Hand's stocks of cyanide had been riddled with impurities, and you get what happened. Obviously the Black Hand wanted to generate a false lead to some decoy to take attention off their real selves (while still have a headline with their name in it -- good for terror/recruiting). This is spy handler basics!
* One of the most iconic Danish resistance fighters during World War II, Bent Faurschou-Hviid, better known under his codename "Flammen" (The Flame), commited suicide with a cyanide capsule in October 1944 to avoid capture by the Gestapo. When a number of Danish resistance fighters were captured by the Gestapo, the resistance appealed to Britain to help them, as the resistance was unable to get cyanide pills to them. In one of the most daring missions of the war, the British sent in bombers to bomb the Danish Gestapo headquarters, freeing them from the basement prison. Although the mission was successful, in a tragic error, during the mission the bombers also accidentally bombed a nearby children's school. After the war, some of the bomber pilots visited the families and found the families were comforting ''them''. The families understood how necessary the mission was and that the children's deaths were an accident.
* Not necessarily cyanide but certainly by poison; Cleopatra is said to have died this way. A Roman biographer commented that it was customary for royalty to have a supply of poison "just in case". Given that she might have been tortured, and possibly gang-raped if her regime fell, one can see the logic. (Creator/WilliamShakespeare's version had her use a live asp, but that was probably an invention done for dramatic effect.)
* To avoid being a POW, Spetsnaz would have some way to kill themselves, either a pill or a spare grenade.
* Former investment banker and convicted arsonist [[http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/07/police-find-cyanide-in-michael-marins-car.html Michael Marin]] did this in an Arizona courtroom in June, 2012 immediately after being convicted of burning down his house for insurance fraud.
* According to astronaut Jim Lovell in his memoir of the ''Apollo 13'' mission, there was a well known joke/urban legend around NASA about suicide pills being given to the crews so they could assure a quick death if they got into a situation in space they couldn't get out of. Apparently, though, it wasn't true. As many have pointed out, an astronaut who wanted to kill himself quickly and relatively painlessly could always [[ExplosiveDecompression decompress the spacecraft]].
[[/folder]]

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