(Nathan Larson is a candidate for Virginia state delegate who previously made waves for his stances in favor of legalizing pedophilia, incest and child porn. He has since drastically updated his campaign website and focus. His new signature issue is making assisted suicide available to all, including moody teenagers).
What effect would legalizing pentobarbital for suicide have on rates of recreational use?
If the pentobarbital were to be administered by a suicide clinic, this would likely be a non-issue, since they would only be administering lethal doses.
But even if it were made available over-the-counter, I don't think there would be much effect. After cannabis is legalized, drug users will probably mostly switch to cannabis. Also, most drug users are probably aware that pentobarbital is a dangerous drug best reserved for suicide.
But supposing some recreational users did get hold of it, and overdose on it, this could help weed out of the population those who might have a tendency toward drug abuse, so in the end, it's a net positive.
How much demand will there be for assisted suicide clinics?
I'm thinking the demand could be pretty high, especially among students. According to the CDC, among students in grades 9-12 in the U.S. during 2013:
17.0% of students seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months (22.4% of females and 11.6% of males).
13.6% of students made a plan about how they would attempt suicide in the previous 12 months (16.9% of females and 10.3% of males).
8.0% of students attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months (10.6% of females and 5.4% of males).
2.7% of students made a suicide attempt that resulted in an injury, poisoning, or an overdose that required medical attention (3.6% of females and 1.8% of males).
That is a lot of people who could potentially benefit from this reform.