By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
In his most recent newsletter, Philip Nitschke, Australia's Dr Death, claims to have found a way to import suicide kits into the United States, starting in January 2014, under the cover of his Max Dog Brewing kit.
Nitschke admitted that his Max Dog Brewing kits are in fact Suicide kits.
Suicide Kits banned
On June 30, 2011; Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber signed into law that a bill outlawing the sale of "suicide kits" in Oregon.
The Oregon bill was in response to the death of Oregon resident, Nick Klonoski (29) who lived with chronic depression and died by suicide after ordering a suicide kit from a group called GLADD in California.
In May 2011, the FBI raided and shut-down the California suicide kit maker - GLADD - that provided Nick Klonski, the suicide/asphyxiation kit.
Similar to GLADD, Nitschke sells his suicide kits online to unknown customers who pay for the suicide kit, online, by visa or mastercard.
In his recent newsletter, Nitschke states:
It has been a long time coming but finally Max Dog Brewing is set to become available in the US in January 2014.
The newsletter article then states:
Cylinders will be sold as a kit with a Nitrogen regulator and tubing. US purchasers will be able to purchase online with Mastercard & Visa ...
Nitschke has a history promoting suicide.
In 2001, Nitschke said that his so-called ‘peaceful pill’ should be ‘available in the supermarket so that those old enough to understand death could obtain death peacefully at the time of their choosing’.
Asked who would qualify for access he replied that:
‘all people qualify, not just those with the training, knowledge or resources to find out how to “give away” their life and someone needs to provide this knowledge training or resource necessary to anyone who wants it, including the depressed, the elderly bereaved, (and) the troubled teen’.
A 2010 report demonstrated that coroners were aware of 51 Australians who had died from an overdose of Nembutal, a lethal barbiturate that Nitschke has promoted since the late 1990’s.
Of the 38 cases fully investigated by coroners, only 11 people were known to have suffered chronic physical pain or a terminal illness before their deaths. Of the 51, 14 were Australians in their 20’s and 30’s.
Journalist Michael Cook put it to Nitschke in 2011 that ‘nearly two-thirds of the Australians who died after quaffing Nembutal... were under 60, and quite a few were in their 20s and 30s... [suggesting that] that mental illness or depression, not unbearable pain, was the reason for the suicide.’
‘There will be some casualties... but this has to be balanced with the growing pool of older people who feel immense well-being from having access to this information, [about suicide drugs].’
Nitschke also uses Google search engines to promote his suicide kits and books online.
Suicide/Asphyxiation kits increase the number of suicide deaths of mentally ill and depressed people.
In September 2013, Tyler Gunn from Arizona, pled guilty to manslaughter for his part in the assisted suicide death of Katherine Lemberg who lived with chronic depression. Gunn was sentenced to nine years in jail in November for assisting in suicide.
Vulnerable Americans who live with mental illness or chronic depression will not be screened out by Nitschke.
American authorities need to confiscate Max Dog Brewing suicide devices while they are being imported or distributed throughout the United States.
If you are experiencing suicidal feelings and you are reading this article, please contact a suicide hotline. In Australia call Lifeline on 131114 or go to their website.