Lawsuit Says Amazon Sells 'Suicide Kits' to Teens

Suit blames two deaths on the company
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2022 5:20 PM CDT
Parents Accuse Amazon of Selling 'Suicide Kits' to Teens
An Amazon Prime logo appears on the side of a delivery van in Dedham, Mass., Oct. 1, 2020.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Two families have filed a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the retail giant of not only selling but essentially curating "suicide kits." Per NPR, the complaint accuses Amazon of assisting in the suicides of two teenagers by selling sodium nitrite and then recommending other products, including a scale, an anti-vomiting drug, and the Amazon edition of a handbook that provides “research and information on voluntary euthanasia and assisted dying.” The families are from Ohio and West Virginia, but the suit was filed was filed in California state court.

Sodium nitrite is a common meat preservative, but as little as a teaspoon can be fatal. In a statement, lead attorney Carrie Goldberg declared that “Amazon is selling a product that is as deadly as cyanide” and that “there is no household use for [sodium nitrite] at the level of purity (98-99%) it sells it.” Amazon sent a statement extending its “deepest condolences” to families and adding that “sodium nitrite is not intended for consumption, and unfortunately, like many products, it can be misused.” California company Loudwolf, which produced the sodium nitrate used in the two cases, did not respond to requests for comment. The suit notes that its sodium nitrite is no longer available on Amazon.

Per Ars Technica, Goldberg took to Twitter last week accusing CBS of canceling two 60 Minutes segments on the issue. “We have reached a breaking point of too many people dying … and of press spiking stories about it—presumably because of corporate ties to Amazon,” Goldberg wrote. CBS has not responded to the criticism. Jónsson set up an Amazon account despite being a minor, and her family found her dead beside the Amazon packaging two days later. The other teen in the lawsuit, 17-year-old Ethan McCarthy, used his mom’s account; Amazon fulfilled the order before she could cancel it. (More sodium nitrite stories.)

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