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Australian euthanasia advocates have modified an ordinary coffee pot which they say will enable the terminally ill to concoct a banned suicide drug in their own kitchens.

A group of elderly coffee-pot chemists say they were able to make the so-called “peaceful pill” Nembutal by cooking the base materials in a pressurised pot on a kitchen stovetop.

In a video of the procedure, the seniors combined sodium metal with other ingredients in the pot and then heated it to the right temperature and pressure to create the drug.

The barbiturate pentobarbital, more often known under the brand name Nembutal, was formerly widely used in small quantities as a sedative.

The drug, which was banned in Australia in 1998, is increasingly being sought by elderly people who want to have access to a peaceful, pain-free death if they become debilitated by illness or advanced age.

Euthanasia campaigner Dr. Philip Nitschke said he normally told people who wanted to obtain Nembutal that it was widely available in Mexico.

He said the kitchen chemists – a group of about 10 people from across the country, including a 96-year-old man – had been driven by Australia’s ban on euthanasia.

“They know they are breaking the law. Their general approach to that is to say, ‘I’m 80 years old, are they really going to come and get me?” Nitschke said.

“What this really points out is the dearth of options available to people, they either become amateur scientists or go to Mexico,” he added.

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