It is worth once again stressing here, that the odds of a successful drug poisoning suicide are around 40 to 1 against. That is not great odds for any bet. Many people reading this might still be desperate enough to take their chances at those odds thinking that it is worth the chance for a quick, peaceful death. But those same people are probably ignorant of the consequences of this method going wrong (or even going right). Anyone considering drug poisoning as a method is thus urged to read the Drug poisoning intro section first to ensure they are fully aware of how long death takes, and the likely physical effects.

The following are some key things to consider if contemplating a suicide by drug poisoning:

  1. Select a drug that has a statistically high chance of success of achieving death. The tables of drug related deaths will provide guidance. Nembutal is known for being one of the most reliable, swift and painless drugs.
  2. Check the expiry/use by dates of the drugs being used. Drugs will often be effective for long after their expiry date, which is typically two to three years. They may still be effective 10 years after purchase, but much depends on how they are stored. For drugs well past their expiry, where the drug is the principal means of suicide, testing of the drug’s potency would be sensible (although testing kits may be hard to source).
  3. Ascertain the minimum lethal dose, and add an extra margin. Consider the effects of tolerance on the required MLD if relevant.
  4. Consider taking the drugs with alcohol, and/or other drugs. Alcohol increases the toxicity of barbiturates, so this might be particularly important if taking a barbiturate at the lower end of minimum lethal dose estimates. It would be unwise to drink such a significant quantity of alcohol that it increases the risk of vomiting. If drinking a bitter tasting liquid, it is often best to down the liquid as quickly as possibly, then have an alcoholic drink to remove the bitter aftertaste.
  5. The vast majority of attempts at suicide by drug overdose alone fail. Use of a plastic bag (see Plastic bag & drugs) significantly increases the chances of success if the dosage of drugs itself is not lethal.
  6. Although drug absorption is best on an empty stomach, many drugs, taken in lethal amounts, are intensely bitter. To try and reduce the chances of vomiting eat a snack, like toast and a cup of tea (not a meal), 40 – 60 mins before taking the drugs. It is also worth taking up to four anti nausea tablets before drug ingestion, or perhaps better, taking them in their standard dose for around two days beforehand.

    Travel sickness tablets are said to have limited effect. Better is hyoscine, promethazine, cinnarizine and cyclizine which are commonly available, although whether a prescription is needed varies from country to country. Domperidone (trade names Motilium, Motillium, Motinorm and Costi), Metoclopramide (sold as Reglan in the USA, Maxalon in the UK and Pramin and other names worldwide) and Prochlorperazine (sold as Compazine, Stemzine, Buccastem, Stemetil and Phenotil) are prescription only drugs.

    Vomiting is a very real risk when taking high drug doses, and vomiting when semi conscious may mean that death occurs via choking which is likely to be distressing and unpleasant. Very far from a peaceful death. Further information on anti-sickness regimens can be found on the new Alt Suicide website. It is possible to source prescription drugs without a prescription from some online pharmacies, but to find a reliable source would really require a recommendation from someone on a forum.

  7. Unless the drugs are in liquid form, grind/crush any pills down to a powder, or if the drug is contained in gelatine capsules, remove all the capsules. This is so they can be taken quickly. Without doing this pills may clump together in the stomach preventing them being absorbed quickly, and increasing the chances of vomiting.
  8. Note that the drugs might taste extremely bitter (Nembutal is known for this, and 100ml or more might need to be taken). If the drugs are not in liquid form to start with, it is worth considering dissolving the drugs in something that can be ingested quickly, to ensure that unconsciousness does not start before all the drugs are ingested. Possibilities are to mix them with an alcoholic drink, a strong tasting hot drink (that is then cool enough to drink very quickly), mixing it with milk, fruit/yogurt smoothie or melted ice cream. Bear in mind that whatever the drugs are dissolved in may still taste quite bitter, so ideally keep the quantity of whatever needs to be ingested small enough to be downed quickly. It may be better to have a smaller amount of bitter liquid than a larger amount of only slightly less bitter liquid.
  9. Ensure the entire dose is ingested quickly (ideally within a couple of minutes). Passing out before the MLD is ingested is a sure way to fail.
  10. Be somewhere where being discovered is not likely for a number of hours. Interruption may end up with the attempt being survived, but with serious health implications like brain or organ damage. Be aware that the body, depending on the precise drugs and method used, may suffer from convulsions and seizures, so it is important that any noise will not cause alarm from anyone nearby who may try to interrupt the attempt.