A pharmacist friend of ours tells us that he once filled a prescription that was used to commit suicide, though it was prescribed for another purpose. He says he continues to be haunted by the fact that he provided the means for another person’s death.
This story illustrates two facts.
The first is that it isn’t very hard to commit suicide using commonly prescribed medicines.
The second is that killing people is not a proper role for pharmacists. If our friend found it profoundly disturbing to have dispensed drugs used for suicide, even though the person who killed himself took full responsibility for his own decision, imagine how disturbing it will be for pharmacists to fill drugs they know will be used for suicide.
We also know that opt out options will not last.. Patients’ “rights” are already trumping conscience rights of pharmacists all over the country.
Some pharmacists will be deeply disturbed. Some, sadly, will experience a dulling of their consciences as this becomes more and more commonplace and gradually becomes the accepted, normal (and, by the way, cheapest possible) way of dying. At that point, the trust we have in our pharmacists will be eroded, just as our trust in the medical profession will be.
Below is a link to an tv ad from the Massachusetts Committee against Assisted Suicide, in which a pharmacist speaks about what would happen in his profession if assisted suicide were legal. The ad is also interesting in that it gives us a chance to see exactly how many Seconal pills a person has to swallow in order to commit suicide by prescription.