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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Oregon Runs Out of Death Drugs



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It appears that Oregon has run dry on death drugs. You see death penalty opponents have made the supply of a prime death-causing drug used in assisted suicide scarce. Of course, the media misses the irony. From the Willamette Week story:

Death-with-dignity [assisted suicide] patients are victims of a global political battle over capital punishment in the U.S., according to the federal Food and Drug Administration, which regulates pharmaceuticals, and the Oregon Health Authority, which oversees application of the state’s Death With Dignity Act.

Access to pentobarbital, also known as Nembutal, has all but ended in the United States because U.S. prison officials use it in lethal injections for executions.

Like I always say, “cruel and unusual death with dignity. 

Now, it seems to me that if the drugs are wrong to use in lawful executions, they are also wrong to prescribe to people who want to kill themselves. Death-causing is death-causing, and that ain’t medicine.

But not to worry, the Hemlock Society C & C wants to go in the death-drug distribution trade:

On May 8, Miner says, Compassion and Choices’ former and current medical directors, Drs. Nancy Crumpacker and Peter Reagan, met with the Oregon Board of Pharmacy.

Crumpacker and Reagan proposed that a compounding pharmacy in Oregon be allowed to obtain the raw materials needed to make pentobarbital and manufacture a generic form of the drug. “The compounding pharmacy would buy the raw material, and Compassion and Choices would just facilitate distribution,” Miner says.

No. C & C is not neutral. The group facilitatesor is in some way involved–in most assisted suicides in Oregon. Its people should be allowed nowhere near the death drug distribution business.

Will Governor Kitzhaber, who has stopped all executions because of his personal opinion against the death penalty, facilitate the distribution of these same death drugs because of his personal opinion in favor assisted suicide?

Hayward says he’d like to see Oregon’s congressional delegation and Gov. John Kitzhaber throw their weight behind finding a solution.​

C & C wanted this kept quiet because of the potential political fallout:​

Death [assisted suicide] with dignity is currently legal in only two other states: Washington and Vermont. Advocates would like to expand the policy across the country, and their concerns about bad publicity hampering that rollout appear to account for their reluctance to discuss Oregon’s shortage.

Irony upon irony: You can’t make this stuff up!



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