Amazon allegedly sold "suicide kits" to vulnerable teens

Amazon allegedly sold “suicide kits” to vulnerable teens

There are several active lawsuits against Amazon about this, the most recent of which was filed 30 March 2023 and based on 2020 purchases.

Etsy and ebay discontinued sales of all sodium nitrite in 2019 or 2020. Amazon (maybe?) “limited” it in November 2022.

The lawsuits target not only too easy access but also Amazon’s search function and algorithm-based recommendations.

This is particularly relevant to @Medic’s topic, Mods supply suicide phone number for seller.


If you are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support, please contact the confidential, free, and always available #988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Call or text 988. Chat at 988lifeline.org. Visit https://988lifeline.org/ for resources.

Today is not going to be a high optimism day.

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You are not alone.

I do wonder if that was an affiliate link.

Beyond disgusting.

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It appears to me that Amazon is not doing anything relative to Sodium Nitrite that it does not do with other products which are legal.

The result is disgusting but the blame belongs elsewhere.

I am tried of actions which attempt to solve problems for certain individuals by depriving others of something valuable, useful and legal.

No - I am not going to go off the reservation and make a gun control argument.

Many allergy sufferers are inconvenienced when they want to buy pseudoephedrine, and pay a higher price because has to be sold behind the pharmacy counter, and in relatively small quantities. This was the solution to its use to make methamphetamine.

When the great thalidomide tragedy occurred in 1968, the drug was banned for all treatments, not just as a treatment for morning sickness, and not just for women who were pregnant or planning to become pregnant (a common quote from drug commercials on TV).

That included patients with multiple myeloma until relatively recently.

And of course, we know how patients with pain, are not being treated with opiodsm because there are addicts who might gain access to their meds.

I have no idea how we strike a balance, but I know the Ebay and Etsy solution will probably become the norm, and other people will suffer to protect the mentally ill.

You know I do not love Amazon, but this is someone else’s problem to resolve, not theirs.

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Amazon has options beyond banning this substance on their platform, and they have not taken them.

The term “suicide” should not be a suggested search term for any item on Amazon, unless it is a suicide prevention kit. Searching for suicide aids should yield no results. A more proactive or hands on approach to managing search terms, keywords, etc. could reduce this problem and is practical, not particularly difficult, and I personally feel reasonably expected.

If every chat or posting platform can have a profanity censor of customizable sensitivity, including one that recognizes many attempts to circumvent the censor, then Amazon search can avoid recommending suicide kits without prohibiting their sale for legitimate use.

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Exactly. It was not just the item itself; it was the whole constellation of “related searches” and “also buys” and autofills that facilitated greater teen knowledge of how-to.

It’s the continuation of the Seller-side struggle of automated bots/AI with no human oversight and Amazon’s attempt to cloak itself in plausible deniability and take no responsibility for its failures.

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Which are fundamental to the Amazon buying experience, and well suited for the bots that implement them.

That argument simply means make it harder for ALL buyers to buy and harder for ALL mass market sellers to sell.

The result may be tragedy, but the tools for averting them need to be elsewhere. Personal support systems and people who care about those with mental health issues are required for survival - not restrictions or more clumsy, poorly defined bots

Human beings are required. Particularly, those who care about the people in their lives.

The necessity for human intervention in the lives of people with suicidal urges is indisputable. However, I don’t agree with the argument that the only alternative is overbearing regulation. Amazon has the tools to restrict its keywords, suggestions, related searches, etc. such that the items are still searchable and available for purchase without facilitating or enabling suicides. They choose not to use these tools in favor of letting the bots reign supreme, lest there be actual people involved in the process.

I reject the notion that preventing the word suicide from showing up in suggested searches is some kind of hamfisted regulatory overreach.

I reject the notion that an Amazon employee spending time to make sure a potentially deadly substance isn’t recommended to be purchased alongside a suicide instruction book or a drug that makes it harder to survive a suicide attempt is going to damage the marketplace and harm sellers en masse.

I reject the notion that Amazon bears no responsibility for the suggestions advanced by its algorithms.

You can kill yourself with rat poison. I am not opposed to the sale of rat poison. I am strongly opposed to the sale of rat poison bundled with a book called “3 Easy Ways To Kill Yourself With Rat Poison!”

It is not Amazon’s job to keep kids safe, but it damn well better be their job to make sure they aren’t endangering them.

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Nah, just the ones looking for/selling suicide kits. :woman_shrugging:

@maintak - Amazon is not targeting these kits to hospice patients or caregivers. Amazon’s target audience is teenagers and other fragile at risk individuals. Not taking down these listings is irresponsible.

@papy - This is the most disturbing news about Amazon I have ever read and it just takes my opinion of this company’s employees to a new low.

Marilyn

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