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A sterile form of Nembutal has also persisted as a useful complete anaesthetic agent that can quickly render an animal unconscious for surgery. Pentobarbital continues to play a role in veterinary practice to this day even though its use by the medical profession has all but disappeared. A development that has led to a resurrection of these outdated drugs is their increasing use as the drugs of choice for voluntary euthanasia (and state-sanctioned executions in some states of the US).
Nembutal in Countries where Assisted Dying is Legal
Nembutal is the drug of choice in countries where VE and Assisted Suicide are legal and is used in The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and the various US states.
When the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act was passed in the Northern Territory, I had the challenge of deciding which drug or substance would produce the most humane, peaceful reliable death.
Fig 16.4: The ‘Deliverance’ euthanasia machine
After much research and consultation - a process that even saw us seeking information about the drugs used for execution in the US - a decision was made to sanction the use of a large intravenous or oral dose of Nembutal.