Kits that allow people to test the concentration of drugs they have bought with the intention of committing suicide are being sold in the UK for just £35. One of the world’s leading advocates of euthanasia, Australian physician Dr Philip Nitschke, is using the UK to run a trial for the kits.
Nitschke is often known as ‘Dr Death’ for his enthusiastic promotion of a person’s right to take his own life, but his actions have revived concerns that healthy elderly and vulnerable people will end up killing themselves in the belief that they have become a burden to their families.
Last year, Exit International, which is run by Nitschke, provoked consternation when it held workshops giving people advice on how they could end their lives. A workshop in Bournemouth was cancelled after the council stepped in. However, a similar event went ahead in central London and was reported to have been well attended.
But now Exit is provoking further controversy with its plans to sell the barbiturate-testing kits here. In the latest issue of its magazine Deliverance, Exit explains how it created a purpose-built laboratory to test ‘end-of-life options’. The article continues: ‘Calibration of the chemicals involved is essential so that those using the test will be certain that the drugs they test will give them a peaceful and reliable death’.