KEY POINTS

  • Wim van Dijk, 78, admitted to providing the deadly drug Agent X to more than 100 people
  • The elderly psychologist is part of a group that supports giving people the means to end their lives
  • Dijk revealed his story to the public to provoke debate on the Netherland's laws on assisted dying

A 78-year-old doctor in the Netherlands admitted to giving more than 100 people "suicide powder" in an effort to provoke debate regarding his country's laws on assisted dying.

Psychologist Wim van Dijk, who is a member of the campaign group Coöperatie Laatste Wil, told Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant that he told people attending his organization's meetings to stay behind after the moderators left, so he could sell them a deadly drug called Agent X for €50 ($58) a dose, The Guardian reported.

The elderly doctor, whose group supported giving people the means to end their lives, claimed he provided the “suicide powder” to more than 100 people.

"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," Djik was quoted as saying.

He continued, "I am saying here openly that I did this and I call on others to do the same. I want social unrest to become so great that the [judiciary] cannot ignore it."

Dijk, who was questioned last week by police but had declined to give them a statement, was aware of the consequences of publicly revealing his story and did not care about being arrested, according to DutchNews.nl.

"Civil disobedience is a lawful means of achieving a legitimate aim. The same is true of the abortion law. I don't really care if they arrest me or put in me jail. I damn well want something happen," Dijk said.

Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, but doctors can only assist people in dying following a "voluntary and well-considered request" in the context of "unbearable suffering from which there is no prospect of improvement, or alternative remedy." 

Assisted dying outside these cases is illegal and carries a maximum prison term of three years.

The Coöperatie Laatste Wil, which Dijk joined after his wife died of dementia, is currently being investigated by authorities over allegations that people attending its meetings have purchased Agent X.

At least six people have died from the drug allegedly provided by a 28-year-old member of the group named Alex S., who was arrested by police in July on suspicion of selling "suicide pills" to hundreds of people.

The group's chairman, Jos van Wijk, was also arrested and detained for a day last month on suspicion of being involved in a criminal organization.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours, every day.

maintenance-4083343_1920 Representation. Wim van Dijk, 78, is part of the Coöperatie Laatste Wil campaign group, which supports giving people the means to end their lives. Photo: Pixabay