Dutch assisted dying campaigner says he gave ‘suicide powder’ to more than 100 people

Wim van Dijk became involved with the Coöperatie Laatste Wil after his wife died of dementia

Eleanor Sly
Monday 25 October 2021 17:37
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<p>Another member of the cooperative was arrested on suspicion of selling so-called ‘suicide pills’</p>

Another member of the cooperative was arrested on suspicion of selling so-called ‘suicide pills’

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A psychologist from the Netherlands has told a newspaper that he gave over 100 people “suicide powder” and that he was speaking out to try and provoke a debate about the country’s laws on assisted dying.

The 78-year-old Wim van Dijk said that he was not worried that he could be jailed for his actions, saying that the issue needed to be aired.

Speaking to De Volkskrant newspaper he said: “I am aware of the consequences of my story. I don’t care.”

“I want the social unrest to become so great that the judiciary cannot ignore it. I don’t really care if they arrest me or put me in jail. I want something to happen.”

According to Dutch law, people may only be assisted to die by a doctor which can only be in response to a “voluntary and well-considered request” which must be in the context of “unbearable suffering from which there is no prospect of improvement, or alternative remedy”.

Mr Van Dijk is a member of Coöperatie Laatste Wil, or the Last Will Cooperative, a group founded in 2013 which is responsible for campaigning for more liberal legislation on assisted suicide.

The group, which says it has more than 26,500 members, is pushing for a law change, in a debate which has been ongoing in the Netherlands for some time.

It also gives advice to those who wish to end their lives.

Investigations are currently underway into the organisation over allegations that people attending its meetings have bought a deadly drug known as Agent X. The cooperative does however deny this claim.

Mr Van Dijk explained in his interview that he had suggested people who were at the organisation’s meetings should stay on after the moderator had left so he could sell them the drug, Agent X, for €50 (£42) per dose.

He said: “I have carefully provided people who want to maintain control over their own end of life with the means to end life at the time of their choice in the future.”

“I am a provider. I have provided Agent X to more than 100 people,” he added.

In the Netherlands, helping someone to commit suicide carries a maximum prison sentence of three years.

The chairman of Coöperatie Laatste Wil, Jos van Wijk, was arrested and detained for a day in September, on suspicion that he could have been involved in a criminal organisation.

Mr Van Dijk told De Volkskrant that his involvement with the cooperative had begun after his wife died of dementia.

Meanwhile another member of the cooperative, named only as Alex S, was arrested in the Dutch city of Eindhoven in July, on suspicion of selling “suicide pills” to hundreds of people. Prosecutors said at least six people died from the drug allegedly provided by the 28-year-old man.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a

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