(File picture) Two anti-euthanasia protestors hold up a sign saying that "life is in God's hands" during a silent demonstration in The Hague as the upper house debated legalising euthanasia in 2001. Picture: Reuters

London - A man of 41 has ended his life under Dutch euthanasia laws because he could not bear being an alcoholic.

Mark Langedijk decided death was the only way to escape his problems, according to his brother.

Langedijk set the date for his own death and was joking, drinking beer and eating sandwiches in the hours before his GP arrived to administer fatal injections.

The mercy killing law was introduced 16 years ago for those in unbearable suffering. But it has already been widened to include those whose problems include social isolation and loneliness. Around 5 500 people died under the legislation last year.

One was a woman in her 20s who had been a victim of child sex abuse.

The story of Langedijk’s death, as told by his brother Marcel, was published in the magazine Linda. It said the two boys and their sister had shared a quiet, easy-going and happy childhood in the eastern Dutch province of Overijssel.

But the family discovered eight years ago that Langedijk had drink problem. And despite help from relatives and health experts he could not give up alcohol.

Marcel said his brother told his GP: ‘I want to die, enough is enough.’ As evidence that his life was unbearable, he kept a diary which Marcel said was ‘a hopeless cocktail of pain, drink, loneliness and sorrow’.

Langedijk died on July 14 after doctors approved his application for euthanasia.