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Peaceful Pill Blog

April 10, 2015

Nitrogen Preferred as Most Humane Method for Capital Punishment


While Exit is no supporter of the death penalty, we have watched with interest how death penalty-loving states in the US such as Oaklahoma have searched around for other ‘acceptable’ means to kill prisoners on death row.

In light of dwindling supplies of Nembutal from European manufacturers, this State has turned its attention to the use of Nitrogen.

In early April 2015 the Oaklahoma State Legislative passed a bill that allows Nitrogen-induced hypoxia to be used for these killings. This Bill has since received the Governor’s signature and is now formally law.

Nitrogen is not poison, indeed Nitrogen makes up 78% of the air that we breathe.

Nitrogen is not suffocation or asphyxiation. It is ‘hypoxia’.

Deep breaths of pure Nitrogen will induce a peaceful and reliable death that is akin to de-pressurization on a plane.

As long as a build-up of carbon dioxide is not permitted, the person will fall quickly into unconsciousness, just as if they have gone to sleep. Death will follow in a few minutes.

It would be hard to argue that the use of Nitrogen for hypoxic death is a form of ‘cruel and unusual punishment’; the argument that is most put forward by death penalty opponents and their legal teams.  And one of the few ways the death penalty can be contested under America’s Bill of Rights (see the 8th Amendment).

On 10 April, Time Magazine reported that Nitrogen is advocated in the context of voluntary euthanasia (eg. Max Dog Brewing).

Paradoxically, they point out, that VE advocates condone the use of Nitrogen for its lack of requirement of medical involvement.  It is interesting to note that Oaklahoma considers the same lack of medical oversight a similar advantage also.

But back to the issue of Nembutal. Exit is often asked why the shortage when the Peaceful Pill eHandbook routinely documents reliable outlets?

The answer must be that the death penalty proponents have focused on human quality Nembutal, rather than its identical veterinary equivalent. There is no scientific reasons for ignoring the veterinary variety of Nembutal. All Nembutal is lethal if taken in the correct doses.

Dr Philip Nitschke

11 April 2015

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