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Nitschke sends suicidal people to the vet - 15 April 2003

Encouraging people to contact vets for suicide drugs was irresponsible and dangerous, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, Mary Joseph, said today. This week euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke advised those at risk of ending their lives to find a vet willing to break the law and supply them with a suicide drug.

“Dr Nitschke claimed on the Seven Network this morning to know of vets who supplied drugs to people so that they could kill themselves. He described this as courageous”, said Ms Joseph.

“But supplying suicidal people with a drug to kill themselves with is not courageous – it is criminally irresponsible.

“Vets are not qualified to assess whether a person is clinically depressed. They are not qualified to diagnose and offer treatment for depression, pain or other conditions.

“This is the latest in a long list of do-it-yourself suicide that Dr Nitschke promotes to desperate people who need help, not death. This list includes:

  • Advocating that a suicide pill should be widely available and sold in supermarkets, including to teenagers;
  • Producing a suicide bag which is available to anyone who joins his Exit Australia group; and,
  • Producing a carbon monoxide suicide machine, designed to be easily assembled out of readily available materials.

“Suicides account for the deaths of more than 2400 Australians every year. We want to help people so they can be saved from suicide – not help more people to die faster.”

Issued:    15 April 2003

Contact:    Mary Joseph, spokesperson for the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations, telephone 02 6253 3100