Advocates from Philip Nitschke's aid-in-dying organisation will hold a demonstration in Canberra on how to test the purity of controversial euthanasia drug Nembutal.
In the demonstration on Tuesday, Exit International group members will be shown techniques for testing which they can use at home, "to establish with certainty that the drug they have obtained will provide them with a reliable peaceful death at the time of their choosing".
Tom Curran, Exit International's European co-ordinator, said the demonstration was necessary because "many" Canberra members had imported euthanasia drugs.
"When people know they have the correct drug in sufficient quantity, they stop worrying, and are less inclined to act impetuously. They know that if they drink the dissolved powder they will peacefully die, and that there will be no chance of survival in an even more disabled state," he said.
He expects 50 to 100 group members to attend the demonstration on Tuesday evening. The demonstration and accompanying workshop are only available to Exit International members.
Mr Curran said the idea to sell test kits came from testing of recreational drugs at music festivals. The practice is gaining support in Europe but so far not in Australia, though campaigners have vowed to ignore the threat of arrest and test pills of festival-goers.
Nembutal testing was also in response to growing demand from consumers anxious about the quality of the powdered drug illegally imported from places such as China and South America, Mr Curran said.
Mr Curran said Nembutal testing kits were consistent with the medical principal of "harm minimisation". Giving the elderly information about the drugs they have obtained is no less important than the need to provide younger Australians with that same information about recreational drugs, he said.
But the demonstration has disability advocates worried. They fear testing Nembutal, before deeper public debate and consultation, is premature.
Craig Wallace, a convenor at disability advocacy group Lives Worth Living, said, "We shouldn't be testing Nembutal, we should be testing suicide prevention for people with a disability."
His concern over the practice of euthanasia stems from the vulnerability of many people with a disability, especially those who had recently acquired a disability, and who might be pressured into euthanasia.
"We have many concerns about euthanasia, and that people with disability might be levered into taking their own lives because of a lack of disability support," he said.
Mr Curran will speak at a public event at the legislative assembly on Wednesday.
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