Parents Sue Amazon for Selling Suicide Kits to Teenagers

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Amazon is now facing heavy backlash and is actually being sued for selling so-called suicide kits.  The lawsuit is brought by two families after two teenagers bought the deadly chemical on the company’s website. They then used the product to take their own lives.

The parents of 17-year-old Ethan McCarthy of West Virginia and 16-year-old Kristine Jónsson stated that Amazon assisted in the death of the minors by selling them sodium nitrate. The chemical is a food preservative that can be fatal at high levels of purity.

The complaint was filed in the California state court in September. It is claiming Amazon recommended customers who purchased the chemical also buy a scale in order to measure the correct dose. It also recommended buying an anti-vomiting drug and a handbook on assisted suicide.

 “Amazon is selling a product that is as deadly as cyanide,” Carrie Goldberg and Naomi Leeds, two attorneys leading the lawsuit said in a statement. “This is different from them selling rope, knives, or other implements that can be used for death because there is no household use for [sodium nitrite] at the level of purity (98-99%) it sells,” they stated.

Amazon Is Being Sued For Selling Suicide Kits to Teenagers

Sodium nitrite is used at low concentrations in order to cure meats such as ham, hot dogs, and bacon.  People who ingest very high levels of the liquid can then have trouble breathing, develop severe abdominal pain, and even die. The sodium nitrate that is being sold on Amazon is so high, that even ingesting a single teaspoon can be fatal.

There was also a previous complaint filed in Washington state early this year by the same Law Firm. They alleged that Amazon sold the drug to two other people. 27-year-old Michael Scott and 17-year-old Tyler Mihleman also used sodium nitrate to take their lives.

Amazon did release a statement extending its deepest condolences to the families affected by the suicides. They reassured that customer safety was their top priority. According to NPR, the company required settlers to follow the applicable regulations and laws. 

“Sodium nitrite is a legal and widely-available product offered by retailers to preserve foods, such as meats and fish, and for use in laboratories as a reagent. Sodium nitrite is not intended for consumption, and unfortunately, like many products, it can be misused,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.

The company that produces sodium nitrate for the two teenagers in the California case that were bought on Amazon, Loudwolf, has yet to make a comment on the situation. But according to the attorneys who brought the lawsuit, sodium nitrate is no longer being sold on Amazon.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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