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The Unspeakable Solution to Japan’s Toxic Fume Suicide Epidemic

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Suicides by the use of toxic fumes have increased dramatically in Japan this year, according to an AP article:

More than 870 people have killed themselves in Japan by inhaling toxic fumes from household chemicals this year, 30 times more than the total for all of last year . . . . Japan has long battled a high suicide rate, and is now in the grip of a wave of deaths from mixing commonly available household products to form poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas. The gas can form noxious clouds that also affect those who happen to be nearby, often triggering mass evacuations.

Toxic fume suicides are especially nasty, because the gasses often injure or sicken emergency workers and others who enter the suicide’s place of death.

Predictably, the only “solutions” proposed by Japan’s government are crackdowns on Internet sites that explain how to make the poison gas, and “anti-suicide programs to help those with depression and other mental health problems” (despite the clearly demonstrated ineffectiveness of the latter).

The obvious, but unspeakable, solution to the problem is to legalize a reliable, comfortable form of suicide that is not dangerous to bystanders – i.e., barbiturate overdose. Legal availability of barbiturates would completely end the practice of toxic fume suicide, at least among those not denied access to the better method.

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Written by Sister Y

October 31, 2008 at 8:07 pm