Elderly face death drug raids: Nitschke
POLICE have raided the homes of elderly Australians, demanding they hand over illegally imported euthanasia drugs, right-to-die campaigner Philip Nitschke says.
Dr Nitschke, dubbed Australia's Dr Death, says eight members of his euthanasia group Exit International have been targeted by police in the past two weeks.
One member was told officers had the names of 100 people who would get a knock on the door for illegally bringing death drugs into the country, the euthanasia advocate says.
Dr Nitschke says police are harassing people who have taken the "sensible step" to prepare to end their life.
He says the action is unwarranted and distressing, even though he admits such importations are against the law.
"They know they are breaking the law when they order. They know the penalties, they know it can be severe," he told AAP from the Gold Coast on Thursday.
"But there have only been four people around the world that have had a prosecution. It's a politically sensitive issue to drag an 80-year-old person to court for trying to get hold of an end-of-life drug."
He says it is an "anxious ordeal" to source euthanasia drugs, and involves learning how to use bitcoin and encrypted emails.
"When they finally get their little package from Mexico they are euphoric," he said.
""And we think, when they get these drugs, they stop worrying about end-of-life choices, and they actually live longer.
"To implement some rather foolish policy of trying to run around and intercept and confiscate these drugs does nothing more than increase the level of anxiety, and concern and distress amongst these people."
He said "local" police had told elderly people they were acting on intelligence shared by the Australian Federal Police, Interpol, and the US Department of Homeland Security.
"Police ... are saying 'we have found out, usually from some interception of email traffic, that you've done this, and we want you to hand over the drugs'," Dr Nitschke said.
"They are claiming they are doing wellness checks, to make sure that you're a person who isn't in danger of ending your own life."
Dr Nitschke urged hundreds of people attending a euthanasia workshop on the Gold Coast to know their legal rights.
"We don't know what's driving this; people getting a knock on the door in the middle of the night. But you don't have to let them in. Make sure they have a warrant, you don't just have to hand the drugs over."
NSW police told AAP they had not conducted any raids relating to euthanasia drugs.
AAP is awaiting comment from the AFP, and Victorian police.