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Australian euthanasia supporters to import drug

Australian euthanasia supporters to import drug
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First Published: Mon, Jun 18 2007. 01 01 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jun 18 2007. 01 01 PM IST
AFP
Sydney: Euthanasia advocates have said they would help supporters break Australian law to import a banned suicide drug believed to cause a peaceful death.
Philip Nitschke, a doctor who has campaigned on right-to-die issues for more than a decade, said 20 mostly elderly Australians and New Zealanders would travel to Mexico in October to purchase the drug Nembutal.
He said his pro-euthanasia group Exit International would provide them with information about where to buy the drug in the Mexican border city of Tijuana where it is easily available.
“They are choosing to break the law because they see that at their age this is important enough to take the risk,” Nitschke told AFP.
Voluntary euthanasia is illegal in Australia and it is against the law to import or possess Nembutal, which veterinarians use to put down animals.
Nitschke said more than 120 people had already brought the drug home from Tijuana and a few had even chosen to end their lives while in Mexico.
According to him they had not been caught importing the drug because they did not look like drug-runners.
Nitschke said Nembutal had been found to be the most effective drug to use in assisted suicides and a dose cost only $30 in Mexico.
In May, members of Exit International succeeded in producing a version of the drug after two years’ work in amateur laboratories. Australia’s Northern Territory was the first jurisdiction in the world to introduce voluntary euthanasia in 1996 but the federal government voted to overturn the legislation six months later.
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First Published: Mon, Jun 18 2007. 01 01 PM IST