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A doctor could not, for example, administer a large dose of a barbiturate. While a barbiturate might provide the most peaceful and quickest death, barbiturates are not pain relieving drugs, and the claim that such a drug was being used to treat pain makes no sense.
This use of morphine by doctors to end life has led to the common community misconception that the best drug to use to end one’s life is morphine - it must be, because that’s the drug doctors use! This unfortunate misunderstanding leads to many failed suicide attempts.
And the process must be slow. Indeed, slow euthanasia can often take days or even weeks. Often the patient is given a sedative that keeps them asleep through the whole process; midazolam is the drug of choice.
Coupled with morphine, this morphine - midazolam mix (known as ‘Double M Therapy’) places the patient in an induced coma for the time needed to raise the morphine level sufficiently. Double M therapy allows the patient to sleep through their own death and gives rise to another name for the process - ‘pharmacological oblivion.’
The doctor still makes the assessment about the need for larger and larger morphine doses. Here the decision is based not on the patient’s complaints, but upon a clinical assessment of the unconscious person.
The doctor will also choose the place of death. It is unusual for slow euthanasia to take place in a patient’s home. Usually it occurs in an institution, commonly a hospital or hospice.