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By Derek Humphry

There has been a deluge of publicity in recent months about the easy availability of veterinary Nembutal (pentobarbital) in veterinary supply stores in Mexico. This has caused a much larger number of people than usual to travel there in search of the lethal drug for their self-deliverance from a terminal illness should their suffering be protracted and unbearable.

A few people have traveled from as far as Australia and New Zealand to get the substance for their end of life. And gone home to broadcast the news. For many it’s an insurance or escape route much to be desired.

Many people with poor mental health are also joining the rush for this potion of death. Veterinary Nembutal is used in most countries for either sedating animals — mostly horses — for surgery, or euthanizing them. It is tightly controlled everywhere except Mexico, but the government there is now threatening to change that because of recent sales abuse.

For some forty years Canadians and Americans have been slipping over the border to get secobarbital and other drugs, some experimental for AIDS, which were not only off prescription there but also cheap. A rash of publicity about this market in the 1980s, including two television movies, finished that valuable source of medications when the authorities quickly clamped down. (I mention this veterinary Nembutal source in my bestselling ‘how-to’ book ‘Final Exit’ first published in 1991 and now in its third edition.)

Now some people who are making the same hunting expedition at veterinary stores are reporting that they failed entirely. Upset and angry, they are embarrassed to give details. “We couldn’t find any,” they say and slam down the phone.

Unpleasant stories have also emerged of the sales experiences. A few people have taken a taxi in border towns asking the driver to take them to a vet  store. Some stores have window signs saying ‘Australians served.’

While the traveler makes the substance purchase inside, the taxi driver calls friends at the local police, who then wait outside the store. As the customer emerges, the police waiting on the sidewalk accuse him or her of acting illegally (probably untrue) thus they will face arrest unless a bribe is paid.

Mexican police are notoriously underpaid and are famous for regularly
augmenting their income with bribes and kick-backs. Not keen to savor
the tough local prisons, most victims pay up on the spot.

Travelers to Mexico should also be aware that there are vicious drug turf wars, involving ugly shoot-outs, constantly in the border towns as the professional drug smugglers kill each other. A person would not want to be caught in their cross-fire. Frequent reports out of Mexico describe group killings far worse than shown in the current shoot-em-up movie ‘No Country For Old Men.’

The U.S. Department of State has warned that visitors to the border region, including cities such as Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Nogales, Reynosa and Matamoros, should “remain alert and be aware of their surroundings at all times” because of the high crime rate.

The deluge of publicity has also alerted American and Mexican border guards to the possibility of travelers carrying this substance, an illegal act. Many travelers switch the Nembutal to another bottle which had contained cough medicine or shampoo in case they are caught in a border check. It is not illegal to cross the borders with medicinal drugs — on or off prescription — for personal purposes.

Judging from internet traffic and phone calls, many of the people anxious to secure veterinary Nembutal are suicidal because of poor mental health, or have life-long, incurable illnesses. The sudden spread of knowledge of the Mexican connection this year has caused them in desperation to go searching, in addition to those who believe in voluntary euthanasia, thus increasing the scope for profiteering.

The sudden increased demand is causing gouging on the Internet. Some
postings claim that they have bottles of the substance available at $1,000 each, for which the seller probably paid around $30 each in Mexico. They request clients use PayPal or Western Union using code names to send the cash. Others ask $750 for two bottles containing 6.5 grams, or 100 ml of the precious drug. One person rashly paid $600 for two bottles and found it contained only salty water.

One genuine bottle is lethal, but two are preferable for speed and certainty. Provided ample anti-emetics (over-the-counter) have been diligently consumed during the previous 12 hours, the dosage is always fatal, normally within 30 minutes, occasionally longer if the person has a huge bulk.

If a person is still determined to acquire this prized death elixir because of life-threatening illness, they are best to travel to an inland Mexican city to search. Whereas this was highly likely in the past to succeed, there is now no guarantee. Caveat emptor.

To thoughtfully plan a self-deliverance or assisted suicide of a dying adult, read the third edition of ‘Final Exit’ available in paperback, or as a digital download eBook, at theERGO Store

No copyright on this article. It may be reproduced with attribution.
850 words. Derek Humphry. 10/20/2008.

3 Responses to “Beware of Mexico drug risks and rip offs”

  1. nomorepain says:

    So there are no reliable internet sites to obtain this drug?

  2. nomorepain says:

    Traveling to Mexico is out of the question for me; limited mobility as it is.

  3. ergo says:


    We know of no sites. Sorry.

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