Hot Christmas gift: Suicide pills

Doctor: 'To the outside observer, nothing looks more peaceful'

(Warning: This story contains content that may offend some readers.)

Elderly people are now buying their loved ones suicide kits as Christmas gifts, according to a prominent euthanasia physician nicknamed "Dr. Death."

Dr. Philip Nitchke

Dr. Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International and author of "The Peaceful Pill Handbook," has explained the use of legal drugs, inert gases, plastic bags and other methods for committing suicide to audiences all over the world, including in U.S. cities such as San Francisco, Calif., and Anaheim, Calif.

He told Australia's Herald-Sun a so-called "peaceful pill" is being developed from Nembutal, the favored drug for ending life. Nembutal is the same drug that killed famous actress Marilyn Monroe. It's mostly used by veterinarians as an anesthetic and euthanasia drug for animals.

The drug is widely available in Mexico for around $30 a bottle, and Nitschke told ABC News in September he has accompanied terminally ill patients to buy the drug.

"You pour it into a glass. You drink it. You follow that with your whiskey, and I've never seen anyone finish their whiskey," he said. "They put the glass down, and they're gone – gone to sleep, and death follows shortly thereafter. To the outside observer, nothing looks more peaceful."

Nitschke conducts closed workshops around the world, open to people older than 50 who pay $40 and are of "sound mind." He also sells testing kits that detect levels of Nembutal.

According to his biography, in 1996, Nitschke "became the first physician to administer a legal, lethal voluntary injection, under the world's first assisted-suicide law – the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act of Australia."

Nitschke told ABC News, "I bought a machine. They pressed a button on the machine. The machine delivered the drugs, and they died in the arms of the persons they loved. … I knew I was doing the right thing."

He helped four people kill themselves before the law was overturned. Nitschke argued that if he weren't providing the information, people "would probably go out and hang themselves."

"This is peaceful. It's quick. It works," he said of one suggested inert gas method.

Nembutal pills
Nembutal pills (photo: Exit International)

Asked why he was promoting the "peaceful pill" for Christmas, Nitschke told the Herald-Sun his methods would always attract criticism.

"Our main opposition is from religious groups who would still be getting outraged at Easter, or any other time of year for that matter," he said in a "peaceful pill" seminar Dec. 16. "There are people here in this room who I know have bought that (euthanasia medication) for their loved ones as Christmas presents."

Right to Life Australia Queensland coordinator Graham Preston said, "A pill to kill yourself and your loved one as a Christmas present is absolutely reprehensible."

Nitschke's "The Peaceful Pill Handbook" also includes information on the use of an "exit bag." His website features a video called "Doing it with Betty," in which a nurse explains how to assemble a plastic hood used to place over a suicidal person's head.

She even suggests people get their hair done if they "want to look nice."

"At Exit International, we believe that with knowledge comes self-determination," Nitschke's website states, "and that means a good life and good death."

Contact: Chelsea Schilling
Source: WorldNetDaily
Publish Date: December 17, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.