Sullum argues that assisted suicide is not medicine, but that the federal government has made it impossible for individuals to control how they die. Sullum writes:
The drug laws reinforce the idea that suicide is a medical issue because they grant physicians exclusive access to the substances that offer a relatively easy and painless way to die. If people could buy barbiturates over the counter, they would not have to beg doctors for a prescription, and the Death With Dignity Act never would have been proposed.
He is absolutely right, as usual. That said, Ashcroft should keep his nose out of it. A state law regarding assisted suicide is not a federal issue.