Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Mexico Lures Boomers with "Eutho-tourism"

Thanks to their new strategic marketing partner Dr Phillip Nitschke Mexican tourism has opened up an new frontier to attract elderly Boomers who are looking for an easy way off this mortal coil.

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico (Reuters) - Elderly foreign tourists are tapping Mexican pet shops for a drug used by veterinarians to put cats and dogs to sleep that has become the sedative of choice for euthanasia campaigners.

Tourists from as far as Australia have travelled to Mexico to buy liquid pentobarbital, which causes a painless death in humans in less than an hour, right-to-die advocates say.

Clutching photos of the bottled drug to overcome a lack of Spanish, they have maps sketched by euthanasia activists to locate back-street pet shops and veterinary supply stores near the U.S. border. There they can buy a bottle for $35 to $50, enough for one suicide, no questions asked.

"We have a moral right to a peaceful death. I don't want to die with a total loss of dignity, incontinent, barely able to see and stand up, suffering as my mother did," said Bron Norman, a healthy 65-year-old Australian woman who spent $2,860 to fly to Mexico in March to buy pentobarbital.

Used legally across the world to anesthetize and euthanize farm animals and pets, pentobarbital, sometimes known by the trade name Nembutal, is tightly restricted to veterinarians.

But lax regulation in Mexico means it can easily be bought.

Euthanasia campaigners call it "the Mexico option" and say they are willing to travel so far because pentobarbital is one of the few drugs that produces a reliable and tranquil death by sending a person to sleep before shutting down breathing.

"There are few countries in the world where the drug is as readily available as in Mexico," said Australian doctor Philip Nitschke, who set up pro-euthanasia group Exit International.

Exit International has helped 250 people from Europe, the United States, Australia and New Zealand get pentobarbital in Mexico over the past few years. And, it says, interest is growing.

"You do this trip because you want an insurance policy," said Michael Irwin, a British euthanasia campaigner and former United Nations medical director who plans to take a dozen Britons to Mexico this year to buy the drug, helped by Exit.

"You make (the trip) in good health so that if you become terminally ill this can guarantee you a quicker exit."

Foreign buyers usually fly to U.S. border cities and cross over to Tijuana, Nuevo Laredo or Ciudad Juarez, the group says.

A Reuters reporter buying a bottle in Nuevo Laredo was given a range of brands to choose from.

How long before some clever entrepreneur sets up an retirement community based on this concept?

Bienvenidos a "Pueblo Fin dela Viaje"!

If you lived here, you'd be dead now.
papijoe 9:47 AM |