The Netherlands: euthanasia authorised for an alcoholic

Publié le 9 Dec, 2016

The Netherlands declared its position on the right to die around fourteen years ago. The law of 12 April 2001 decriminalised active euthanasia and assisted suicide. The country didn’t stop there. It has just granted access to euthanasia for a forty year-old male because he could no longer tolerate his alcohol addiction.  


Dutch doctors do not face any criminal proceedings if their intervention is upheld by a specialist control commission. Since 2001, every Dutch person has had the option to choose euthanasia either by means of an intravenous injection or by ingesting a lethal product. 


Marcel Langedijk, a Dutch journalist, has written a book in which he recounts the death by euthanasia of his brother, Mark, who was alcohol-dependent. He describes the death of his brother who, after eight years of alcoholism and 21 hospital stays decided that “he had had enough”. The father of two,with a failed marriage behind him, requested euthanasia within the Netherlands’ current legislative framework. 


Marcel Langedijk wonders about the ability to reflect and make decisions of people who are alcohol-dependent, “very ill and suffering psychologically”. He describes his brother’s death in an icy tone: “A female doctor dressed in a black dress and trainers came to administer the lethal injection”  


Today, according to the Dutch Central Statistics Office (CBS), almost 4% of the overall death rate is linked to euthanasia or assisted suicide. In 2013, 4,829 cases were registered – and the figure is rising every year.

BioEdge (Michael Cook) 25/11/2016

Libération (Benoît Goffin) 19/03/2015

Photo : Pixabay, DR.

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