Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide - Archive

Australian “Dr. Death” Nitschke Promotes Right to Die (2006)

Philip Nitschke continues to be in the news. Upon his return from the World Federation of Right to Die Societies’ meeting in Toronto, Australian customs officials at the Brisbane Airport seized 45 copies of his new book, The Peaceful Pill Handbook, which contains instructions on how ordinary people can make their very own “suicide pill.”

Officials said the book was an incitement to suicide. [ABC News, 9/22/06]

While Nitschke seems to relish provoking authorities by testing legal limits, he usually avoids situations where he personally would be as risk for prosecution.

In September he arranged a trip for himself and 12 elderly Australians to travel to Mexico to buy bottles of the barbiturate Nembutal, a drug banned for human consumption in Australia and an item classified as a prohibited import. The drug, however, is #1 on Nitschke’s best-drug-for-human-euthanasia list, and, since it is only allowed to put down animals, he routinely recommends that people make friends with veterinarians in order to obtain access to the drug. But, that’s easier said than done. Hence, the trip to Mexico.

When the time came to return to Australia, the elderly people successfully smuggled in their bottles of the drug. Nitschke, however, decided to dump his bottles before going through customs, saying it was “too risky.” [The Sunday Mail (Adelaide), 9/24/06; Int’l Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Update 2006, Vol 20, No 5]