A 33-year-old personal trainer in the United Kingdom recently took his own life, using a “suicide kit” he ordered online which contained pills used for euthanasia. Harry Benjamin had long suffered from depression, but his mother said the isolation in lockdown pushed him over the edge.
Benjamin died in June of 2020, found in his bedroom by his mother, Jill Alexander. In an inquest about her son’s death, Alexander recounted what had happened. Benjamin had gone to bed at around 8:30pm, and when Alexander woke the next morning, she didn’t check his room, as he often slept late due to insomnia. But when his phone was not working, she became concerned, and went upstairs, where she found his body. A combination of factors seemed to have led to his death, including the COVID-19 lockdown and a breakup with his girlfriend.
“His gym was closed and he could not work,” Alexander explained. “It just took everything away from him. He had lost his momentum. He just didn’t know what to do. Of course, he could not meet friends because of the lockdown. He just felt isolated… I was just his mum. I tried to be everything to him, but it was impossible. He had just had enough. He said it to me many times.”
She explained she had tried desperately to get him help, including putting him in the hospital long-term under the Mental Health Act, but everything she tried was refused due to the pandemic. “I never thought in a million years he would take his own life,” she said.
More disturbingly, however, is that Benjamin appeared to have been able to order the lethal drugs to kill himself online. The coroner ordered a toxicology report, which found high levels of a sedative often used in euthanasia. Secobarbital and pentobarbital are the most frequently used drugs for doctors to kill patients in euthanasia and assisted suicide. While the specifics of how Benjamin obtained the euthanasia drugs is known, the idea of someone being able to order them online is extremely concerning — and reminiscent of efforts to make available dangerous mail-order abortion drugs to kill preborn children.
The question with Benjamin’s death now becomes, is the euthanasia industry heading in the same direction? Already, pro-assisted suicide groups are using scare tactics on individuals vulnerable to COVID-19 to push them toward assisted suicide. One can only hope that the fatal sedatives used in assisted suicide will never become freely available to order by vulnerable individuals. Otherwise, anytime a depressed, lonely, hopeless person feels their life is no longer worth living, death is only one click away.
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