Voluntary euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke has gained permission to import the voluntary euthanasia drug Nembutal, aka pentobarbital. The drug is used to aid patients in sleeping but if used in excess can leads to a painless death. The drug is currently used widely in the Americas and Europe for euthanasia as well as executions.
Dr Nitschke’s reason for importing the substance is to prescribe it to two patients who are terminally ill. He stated that:
The drugs will be provided to her with clear instructions, they are to help her sleep.
If she breaches those instructions she will be aware there are significant dangers.
The patient will also have to sign a statutory notification that she is aware of the risks associated with taking more than one tablet a night to help her sleep.
This is a nice step forward in my opinion. Even if it isn’t yet a legalised form of euthanasia at least it’s allowing those who are terminally ill and in pain to have access to drugs that if used excessively would allow them to die peacefully. It’s always seemed to be incredibly ironic and hypocritical that our government allows the euthanasia of animals by veterinarians but not of terminally ill patients by their doctors. Instead this forces those who are in constant pain and facing certain death to employ riskier and more dangerous ways of ending their lives. It’s time we bit the bullet, got over this taboo, and legalised and regulated euthanasia. The right to control the way in which you die should be a basic human right.