The Dutch newspaper NRC reported that the country’s voluntary euthanasia society has relaunched its passionate campaign to push for the availability of a pill for the elderly people who wish to end their lives.
The campaign for such a pill was first launched in the early 1990s by judge and euthanasia campaigner Huib Drion. The drug became known as Drion’s pill. Drion believed the pill should be issued without cost to every individual over the age of 70. However, at the time, his argument did not pass medical, ethical or legal muster.
Now, the Dutch right-to-die organization, NVVE, is attempting another go at it, with the stipulation that the pills should only be dispensed by family doctors or pharmacists. Although it seems like common sense, the organization said that, “This is important to make sure that the drugs cannot be used for suicide, abuse or murder.”
The NVVE now wants to discuss the matter with the health and justice ministries and with the Dutch doctors’ association, KNMG. Specifically, the group wants to conduct a possible experiment of its proposals.
NVVE director Robert Schurink told the NRC that, “We see that society wants such a pill, particularly among the baby boom generation which is not afraid to speak its mind. They want control over the end of their lives.”
Currently, the NVVE assists people who do not want to live any longer by accessing the pills through foreign suppliers. The individuals then buy the pills and die at home in the Netherlands.
As of now, euthanasia is illegal in the Netherlands but there is legislation in place that provides doctors with protection from prosecution if one of their patients is suffering immensely and with no chance of improving quality of life. In 2014, about 14,000 people in the Netherlands received assistance to die, and most of those suffered the extreme pains of cancer.