Georgia Execution Drug Pentobarbital Is Popular In Suicide Forums

Mar 03, 2015 at 11:14 AM ET

Problems with the execution drug Pentobarbital forced the postponement of an execution in Georgia at the weekend, however the lethal drug has become a hot commodity in online forums for suicidal people. A simple search for “Pentobarbital” in a Google group dedicated to alternate suicide methods yielded more than 1,260 results on Sunday, including many examples of people talking about where to find the drug.

The deep web is full of anonymous forums and Google groups where people seek suicide drugs, tips on how to kill themselves painlessly, and partners with whom to commit suicide. Pentobarbital, also called Nembutal, is sought after but hard to find, according to commenters. Users in suicide forums complain that they can’t even find the drug on dark net drug markets like Silk Road.

Since Pentobarbital can be used to euthanize animals, it is sometimes available through black markets for veterinary supplies in Mexican border cities like Tijuana. But many people who want to die at home are afraid of smuggling euthanasia drugs across the border, so they are trying their luck online.

Scam artists have caught wind of the high demand for lethal injection drugs. Suicide and euthanasia forums are rife with con artists who promise cheap access to a painless death, according to commenters. One of the most prominent swindlers (according to jilted forum users) allegedly goes by the name Muller Gomez. He claims to operate out of Tijuana, shipping drugs straight from the Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck. Meanwhile, the phone number he lists for potential clients has a Massachusetts area code.

Earlier this week, officials in Georgia planned to use Pentobarbital to execute Kelly Renee Gissendaner, but the procedure was postponed when the drug had a cloudy appearance. Some executions are done with cocktails of drugs, but in this case, Pentobarbital was the only drug they were planning to use. Gissendaner was given the death penalty for murdering her husband.