Tuesday 23 July 2019

Dutch government says it won’t ban ‘suicide powder’

Photo: Jan Dijkstra via Wikimedia Commons

Chemical substances such as the ‘suicide powder’ recommended by euthanasia cooperative Laatste Wil, will not be banned, health minister Hugo de Jonge has said in a letter to parliament.

De Jonge says a ban would be complicated, ineffective and would put the names of the substances in the public domain, which is what he wants to avoid. Some of the substances, moreover, are beneficial in low dosages, the minister said.

De Jonge he wants to ‘up the threshold’ for the use of chemicals for suicidal purposes and calls on the chemicals sector to ‘self-regulate’. The sale of chemical substances to private individuals and attempts to buy the chemicals abroad will be monitored as well.

In April this year a 19 year-old women killed herself after buying a powder on the internet but her supplier is not thought to be the cooperative. The health minister said at the time the death was ‘extremely worrying’.

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