These claims were based on two incomplete case studies. In neither case was any evidence provided that would support the claim that nitrite caused ‘unbearable symptoms’ or that it was ‘an extremely unsuitable suicide agent’. In the same edition’s editorial, Yve Smulders stated that he had ‘difficulty with the ideology (of suicide): This is self-determination in the form of a dictatorship, in which no one is allowed to restrict another person from making decisions about himself’.
Throughout late 2019 and 2020, use of sodium nitrite as an end of life agent grew rapidly. This use has likely been driven by a number of factors, not least by reports of its certain efficacy. A further possible reason for the rise in the use of nitrite has been its position as a ‘fall-back’ when one cannot source Nembutal. As Nembutal has become more difficult to obtain (because of increased international police surveillance and pandemic-related restrictions on international travel), so people have turned their attention to alternatives. It is interesting to note that questions about nitrite dominated at Exit’s 2020 online workshop series.