Elderly and ailing people often realize that, at some time in the future, they could well find themselves in an unacceptable and unbearable situation, one that is worsening. A pill to end life at one’s own discretion could alleviate some of their anxiety. Not a pill for now, but for the unforeseeable future so that the end can be humane (Huib Drion, Dikkers cited in Nitschke and Stewart, 2005)
Following Drion, Exit research has confirmed that a Peaceful Pill provides peace of mind for its seriously ill or elderly owner, giving that person a sense of control over their life and death. Unlike end of life laws that depend solely upon a person’s state of health (or illness), Drion’s ‘universal model’ has only one criteria, that of age.
Drion suggested that all people over the age of 65 years should have access to a Pill. While the age is arguable, the point remains the same. The ‘Drion Pill’ or ‘Peaceful Pill’ should be accessible to the seriously ill as well as the elderly.
The History of the Suicide Pill
The idea of a Peaceful Pill – that is, a lethal substance or liquid that can be orally ingested – is not new. In Athenian times, the herb Hemlock was the drug of choice for suicide and it was taken as a drink. The most famous Hemlock suicide was that of the Greek critical scholar, Socrates.
In more modern times, the chemical compound Cyanide has been widely employed as a suicide pill. One well known death from Cyanide was that of Spanish quadriplegic Ramon Sampedro.