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Drug Options - Nembutal


Fig 11.7: Non-sterile veterinary Nembutal (Valabarb)


If a vet were ever to provide Nembutal - knowing what the person has in mind - they could face a charge of assisting a suicide or even murder. De-registration and a prison term would be the likely consequence. In 2001 the Australian Veterinary Board became concerned about the increasing use of veterinary Nembutal as a human euthanasia option and put out a warning to its members urging caution in the storage and use of the drug. (see Veterinary Surgeons Board, 2003).


Exit knows of only a handful of cases where seriously ill people have been able to obtain Nembutal from their Vet. When there is public mention of this possibility, the Veterinary Associations have reacted quickly denying the practice.


Moves to further restrict the use of veterinary Nembutal has meant that the anaesthetic form of the drug (see Fig 11.5) is becoming more difficult to obtain. This is the form of the drug favoured by those wanting it for their own use, comforted by the fact that it comes in a clearly-labelled sterile sealed bottles.


The non-sterile green dyed form is more concentrated than its clear counterpart. Marketed as Valabarb (Fig 11.7) or Lethabarb (Fig 11.6) the concentration of this type of pentobarbital is 300mg/ml (five times higher than in the sterile anaesthetic form). A single 30ml sample will contain 10gm of Nembutal and be lethal. This non-sterile green liquid needs to be decanted from a larger 500ml bottle. If drunk it can stain the lips and tongue. With such staining it is unlikely that an attending doctor will cite natural causes on the death certificate!


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