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Nitschke calls for euthanasia pill testing

Euthanasia drug Nembutal. Photo Mads Bødker flickr.com/photos/boedker

Euthanasia drug Nembutal. Photo Mads Bødker flickr.com/photos/boedker

Sydney [AAP]

A planned pill testing scheme for music festival-goers in NSW should be extended to the elderly, euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke says.

A team of doctors led by president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Alex Wodak, on Sunday vowed to roll out a pill testing trial at festivals in a bid to save young people’s lives.

Premier Mike Baird dismissed the plan as ‘absolutely ridiculous’ and said the state government would not support it.

The service should be made available for elderly people who had illegally bought the euthanasia drug Nembutal, chief scientist at pro-euthanasia group Exit International, Dr Nitschke said on Monday.

He said many were worried about the drug’s purity and composition.

‘While it’s a great comfort to older people to know they have a safety net at home in the cupboard in case things turn bad, the issue of purity is a constant concern to many,’ he said.

‘Enabling the testing of Nembutal at dance and music festivals (or other more suitable venues) would not only provide reassurance, but would encourage open discussion about the step contemplated, and the possibility of reconsideration,’ he said.

Dr Nitschke said he would ask those testing party drugs to make provision for the inclusion of euthanasia drugs in the planned program.

Dr Wodak, an addiction specialist, has begun fundraising $100,000 for the trial which he says he will implement with or without the government’s support.

A stand will be set up at festival events with a machine that tests the content of pills and powders, reporting back to the user on whether it contained life-threatening elements.


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