The state government inquiry into end-of-life choices was told that 52 Victorians died using pentobarbitone, otherwise known as nembutal or “the peaceful pill”, between 1999 and 2014.
Coroners Prevention Unit manager Jeremy Dwyer told the Legal and Social Issues Committee that the majority of those suicides were young people who were physically healthy, but mentally ill.
“There have been claims from the authors of The Peaceful Pill Handbook that their messages are only intended for one group [the elderly and seriously ill],” he said.
“But the unintended consequences of it is that people who are not the stated audience are picking up on it, they’re obtaining Pentobarbitone in the way recommended in the The Peaceful Pill Handbook and Exit International material and they’re suiciding.
“That group used to be the minority, now it’s the majority of Pentobarbitone suicides in Victoria.”
A New Zealand-born woman living in Canada, Gillian Bennett, ended her life using Nembutal in August 2014. She was suffering from the early stages of dementia and called her death a suicide. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/woman-commits-suicide-facing-dementia-article-1.1910731
A Wellington woman ended her life with Nembutal in 2006, after receiving advice on how to obtain it from Dr Nitschke. She was a life-member of EXIT and was suffering from depression. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/250448/Outrage-as-healthy-woman-helped-to-die
A woman died from Nembutal and presented their story as an affidavit in the Lecretia Seales case in May this year.
A South Island man known as John stated in 2009 that he intended to end his life using Nembutal. He was suffering from cancer.
“Dr Nitschke said there were several clear reasons for this trend. Most significant was the aging of the population and the increasing availability of information and drugs capable of providing people with a reliable and peaceful death…
“Reliable sources of the premier euthanasia drug Nembutal are now readily obtained on the internet, and at Exit we encourage elderly people to source this drug…
“Exit has also been instruments in providing elderly New Zealanders with supplies of MaxDog nitrogen, another practical method that guarantees the option of a peaceful death. In particular, the use of MaxDog nitrogen also ensures that the cause death will be impossible to determine, if this is the wish of the person ending their life”