Suicide powder ‘in homes of 300’ Dutch people, reports NRC

About 300 people in the Netherlands have bought ‘suicide powder’ with the help of a cooperative that campaigns for members to be able to end their own lives when they choose, reports NRC.

The Cooperative Last Will hit the news last September after a news programme reported that it claimed to have found a legal way for people to commit suicide, using a widely-available preservative powder.

Now, the NRC claims, more than 300 people have ordered this ‘substance X’ through one of a number of joint purchasing groups the body has established in the Netherlands. The preservative is apparently used in hospitals to prevent mould.

Suffering

The Cooperative Last Will, which allows members to join such purchasing groups after six months, has reportedly seen its membership grow from 3,400 people to 20,000.

Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands for people enduring ‘unbearable suffering’ with no foreseeable end, but there are strict protocols about how it can be administered, and it can only be done legally by medical professionals.

All cases are reviewed after the fact, and doctors suspected of breaking the rules can be prosecuted.

Ethics

The subject of a suicide pill has provoked fierce debate in the country.

While liberal democrats D66 argue that people should be able to end their lives when they feel they are complete, Christian parties are opposed.

This was reportedly one of the ‘ethical’ sticking points in the long process of creating a coalition government last year.