Euthanasia Advocate Develops Homemade Suicide Pill to Kill Patients

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 11, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Euthanasia Advocate Develops Homemade Suicide Pill to Kill Patients Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 11
, 2006

Tortono, Canada ( — An Australian euthanasia advocate has developed a suicide pill — a homemade concoction that someone can make at home to use to kill himself. This isn’t the first time euthanasia advocates have come up with home remedies they’ve touted to disabled and incurably ill patients, but this may be the first suicide pill.

Philip Nitschke of Exit International promoted the new pill at a euthanasia conference in Toronto on Saturday.

"You can do everything yourself, acquire what you need access what is ultimately the most peaceful way of a peaceful death," he said, according to a CTV report.

Nitschke explains the process of making the pill in a book he’s written and says it’s a great alternative for people without access to a location where assisted suicide is legal.

"If you can manage things yourself you don’t break laws," Nitschke said.

Nitschke told the crowd the pill is based on what some elderly and ill Australians developed with his guidance, CTV reported. The pill, a lethal barbiturate whose main component is amylobarbitone, suppresses the central nervous system and is similar to a drug used in European nations where assisted suicide and euthanasia are legal.

After a year of trials, the group has synthesized the barbiturate into crystalline form and it is being tested for contaminants in an Australian laboratory.

Nitschke said the results will come in later this month and, afterwards, it should be ready for general use. He indicated 100 people are already on a waiting list to get it.

Although pro-life groups strongly oppose encouraging patients to kill themselves, even some euthanasia advocates say they don’t support the suicide pill because they want doctors involved in killing patients.

Donald Babey of Dying with Dignity Canada told CTV, "It appeals to people looking for an immediate response or coverage, but doesn’t address the 100 percent solution, which is to allow for physician aid in dying."

Nitschke described the process of making the drug and said that Australian members of Exit each donated about $1,700 to put together a lab at a farm in New South Wales where they pretended to be a group of birdwatchers.

Nitschke has long been referred to as the Australia version of Jack Kevorkian and killed four people when Australia’s Northern Territory briefly legalized assisted suicide.