The Peaceful Pill Handbook

The Peaceful Pill Handbook

Cover of The Peaceful Pill Handbook

Australian cover
Author Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart
Country United States
Language English
Subject Euthanasia
Publisher Exit International US
Publication date
July 1, 2006
Media type Print and Digital
Pages 214
ISBN 0-9788788-2-5
OCLC 245542475

The Peaceful Pill Handbook is a book setting out information on assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia. It was originally published in the U.S. in 2006 and was written by the Australian doctors Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart. In 2008 the on-line handbook was launched. Called The Peaceful Pill eHandbook, it contains video clips on assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia methods and related issues, but does not provide "how-to" instructions. The eHandbook is updated six times a year. A German edition of the print book — Die Friedliche Pille — was published in 2011. A French edition — La Pilule Paisible — was published in June 2015.


The book is primarily intended for seniors, people who are seriously ill and their families and friends. It is also a resource guide for those working in public health and aged care. The book rates over 15 approaches to euthanasia according to reliability and peacefulness scales.

Strategies covered by the books include: the use of gases (such as nitrogen), poisons such as carbon monoxide, non-prescription drugs such as chloroquine, prescription drugs such as insulin and the opiates and former prescription drugs such as the barbiturates.[1] The book details lawful means of obtaining and administering the drugs and other peripheral issues such as drug storage, shelf life and disposal. The Swiss assisted suicide services are also covered in detail, as are issues such as the writing of wills, advance directives and issues of determining testamentary and decision making capacity.

One of the more controversial aspects of the book is its coverage of the internet as a source of drugs. To this end, the authors publish a regular neighbourhood watch that warns about internet scammers and fake and fraudulent websites.


Although restricted in New Zealand and Australia, the book is available without restriction on, and from the website.


While the book was initially granted an 18+ rating in Australia, this was overturned on appeal from the Australian Attorney-General. In early 2007 the publication was refused classification (RC) by the Classification Board.[2] In 2009, the Australian government included the handbook website in its internet filtering plan known as the Clean Feed,[3] although the online ehandbook is not banned in Australia, and the printed edition can be bought and imported into Australia legally by individuals.

New Zealand

In 2008, the Society for the Protection of Community Standards in New Zealand objected to the book’s publication. This led to its temporary banning in New Zealand on the grounds that it was an objectionable publication.[4] A short time later the book was republished in redacted form and is available if sealed and an indication of the censorship classification is displayed.[5][6]

See also


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