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Buyers' clubs and test labs for death drug

AAP logoAAP 5/12/2016 Tracey Ferrier

Right-to-die campaigner Philip Nitschke says euthanasia drugs should be available to any rational adult who wants to end their life, regardless of whether they're sick or not.

Dr Nitschke has outlined a new "militant" campaign he hopes will force countries, including Australia, to stop treating people who want to die as criminals.

He says members of his new direct-action group, Exit Action, intend to form "buyers clubs" and organised distribution networks for the preferred euthanasia drug Nembutal, which is illegal in Australia.

They also hope to hold forums to share intelligence about how best to source such drugs, including how to get it on the dark web.

And they have plans to set up testing labs to check the purity of the drugs before they're used.

Dr Nitschke, who founded the pro-euthanasia group Exit International in 1997, says it's a bold new approach that will leave authorities with no choice but to respond to an issue of great importance to many people worldwide - some of them sick, some not.

"In a sense this is putting it in the face of the authorities. They're now going to have to react to it," he told AAP on Monday.

"Exit International, for a long time, has been pushing for a rights model where access to a peaceful death is seen as a right, rather than the common model that it's some sort of medical privilege where you've got to be sick enough to qualify."

He said the defeat of voluntary euthanasia laws in South Australia last month had angered many members of Exit International, and some of those members would be joining Exit Action.

Dr Nitschke said Victoria would be the next Australian state to consider euthanasia, but even if laws pass there they are likely to be so conservative many people would deem them useless.

"The legislative change Exit Action want is the decriminalisation of importing Nembutal and possessing it for personal use," he said.

"We want reform of drugs policies, rather than a piece of legislation that sets out to codify each and every condition under which you are sick enough to qualify for (euthanasia)."

Dr Nitschke says past campaigns that relied on terminally-ill people pleading, unsuccessfully, with politicians to enact euthanasia laws were humiliating and had failed.

He said he expected strong interest in Exit Action, from Exit International's 10,000 members worldwide.

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