Illegal ‘suicide kits’ which cause ‘horrible deaths’ on sale in Netherlands
Hundreds of illegal drug packages containing suicide pills have been sent across the Netherlands, a local court has heard.
A suspect identified as Alex S was accused by Ditch police of supplying 1,600 packages of a deadly cocktail of toxic substances over the last five years.
The man, who has been sentenced to three years in prison, claimed he believed he was “helping people” who could not access legal euthanasia routes.
But relatives of the ten people confirmed dead as a result of the “suicide kits” have said the unsafe pills had caused “distress and panic” and had led to a “horrible death”.
In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country to authorise euthanasia, but it is still strictly regulated and requires the intervention of a doctor.
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Each package sold by Alex S contained between two and three capsules of an unknown substance, the court heard.
It is understood that the provisions within each package amounted to a “lethal dose” for which there was no antidote.
According to a police investigation, the man had supplied 1,600 of these packages in a case that the court said was the first of its kind in the country.
Prosecutors said at least ten people had died as a result of using the kits but they believed the true fatality figure was considerably higher.
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The suspect prepared postal parcels containing the suicide kit, as well as guidelines for its use and an anti-vomiting agent.
He claimed that he was “helping people” but relatives of the deceased said that some of those who took “drug X” suffered “distress and panic”.
The presiding judge in the trial said: “This is the first time in the Netherlands that someone has been prosecuted for supplying assisted suicide drugs on a large scale.”
They added that the number of deaths “could potentially be multiplied by 160” given the number of packages the police suspect were sent out.
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“The accused treated the lives of others very lightly and undermined the value of human life,” the judges said.
“He thereby undermined the practice of euthanasia applicable in the Netherlands.”
Euthanasia is strictly regulated in the Netherlands. The patient must be lucid when he or she makes the request and be experiencing unbearable suffering as a result of an illness deemed incurable by at least two doctors.
Euthanasia can only be carried out by a doctor administering a lethal dose of an approved drug, while patients can only take the drug if it has been supplied by a doctor.
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