“A Way to Die” Medication Method

Written by on August 29, 2014 in Blog with 0 Comments

“Many suicide attempts fail.”

This is the beginning of Dr. Boudewijn Chabot’s chapters on using lethal drugs for a humane and dignified death chosen by the very elderly and very ill.  He calls this the “medication” method.  Sometimes I use “Rx” for it.  (This is the second in a series of articles on Chabot’s book,  “A Way to Die, Methods for a Self-Chosen Humane Death“).

If you use one of the drugs Chabot lists, and its dosage and his method for taking it, you shouldn’t fail.  Moreover, done properly, one dies painlessly and in a very short time.

This blog won’t give the dosages, or even the names of the drugs.  However if you, or someone you know, might be interested in choosing the Rx method for the final event, here are some things Chabot says you should think about.

  • Natural substances aren’t advisable.  Socrates used hemlock and probably died a miserable death by slow suffocation.
  • Take sleeping pills first.  The book discusses which, and dosage.
  • Vomiting is often caused by the high dosage you must take of the lethal drug you chose.  You may need to take an anti-emetic drug to prevent such vomiting.  That’s a third necessary drug.
  • If you are already taking your drug of choice, you need to detox yourself for two weeks or more and then take the overdose (preceded by a sedative).   If your sedative is to be the same as the one you use regularly, there is a similar but lessened detox problem.
  • There are methods to follow when taking lethal drugs.  Chabot goes into to them.
  • Many of the desired drugs fall under international drug control conventions and thus are difficult to obtain, even on the internet.  As you might suspect, drugs from second and third world countries, and from the internet, may not be pure or even what you ordered.
  • You can accumulate pills over time – this is not unusual, especially if you can get a  prescription for the drug.   It is not necessary to refrigerate these pills to keep their effectiveness.  Rather, seal the pills and store them in a dark place.  For most of these drugs effectiveness can last many years.

Being the lawyer that I am, I must go into some legal issues with the medication method, or, for that matter, any method for choosing an earlier death.  The preferred methods, besides Rx, are stopping eating and drinking (SED), which I blogged about earlier this summer, and helium (which is in Chabot’s book and which I will blog about shortly).

One concern with the medication method is discovery before, or just at, death.  Then doctors, medics and others will do everything possible to stop your death: pump your stomach, apply artificial respiration, try cardiac resuscitation, and more.   To head-off such life-saving attempts you need to have an advance health care directive (living will with healthcare power of attorney) in which you refuse all treatment. You have a right under the law to refuse any medical treatment.  You can amplify your refusal in a separate statement, entitled “Refusal of Treatment,” which Chabot includes in Appendix 1.

As part of the advance directive, your agent or proxy must advocate for you.  You must obtain a commitment from this person to do so.  If he or she hesitates, then find someone else.

Any time one chooses to shorten life, even by simply refusing further treatment, it is important to try to have all you close family members understand your wish. Have those family conversations.  Get buy in; try to make them understand why you are making this decision. Or at least get acquiescence.  If someone objects to your wish to die, specifically exclude him or her in your advance directive; that is, keep the person from all decision making about your medical treatment.

Dr. Chabot points out that emotional issues are involved:  “[Family members] may feel rejected by your refusal of care, certainly after they have done all they can to help you to continue to live a meaningful life rather than end it.”  Deal with the emotional issues by talking them through.

If the medication method is something you are considering, or someone you know is, read Dr. Chabot’s A Way to Die, and other current literature on this subject, for details.   The Chabot book is available from Amazon.







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