A worrying misdirected overreaction


Back in June I got linked to a BBC article, about an autistic boy who died after getting hold of medication from an online pharmacy, and whose parents are now waging a campaign to protect others.

Except, that's not what happened. The photo included in the article is misleading - this was not a school-aged boy, this was an adult, 26 years old. And this does not appear to have been any sort of accident. He had attempted suicide several times before using pills from other sources before finally succeeding. If restrictions had been in place such that he could not order this online, what then? I expect he would have tried some other means to end his life.

Blaming online pharmacies because a suicidal person made use of one to end eir own life seems more an act of desperation than a useful response. While I believe people do and ought to have the right to end their own lives, it would be a far better response to campaign for better mental health services and support rather than pursuing doctors in other countries for not breaking local laws.

I'm also worried the repeated mention of the deceased as being autistic, along with the photo used for the article. It seems an attempt to infantilise him, as if by being autistic he is not capable of making his own decisions. It seems like an attempt to portray this as a tragic accident, rather than a deliberate act.