People Ended Their Lives in 6 Months Under California's New Right-to-Die Law

Posted July 01, 2017

The information, generated from doctors' forms that required submission from June to December 31, 2016, stated that 191 people asked for drugs that would end their lives after being diagnosed with less than six months to live.

A newly released report by the California Department of Health accounts for the terminally ill individuals who participated in the state's assisted suicide program between June 9 and December 31.

A total of 111 people took life-ending pills over the last seven months of 2016 under California right-to-die law.

That's the number of California residents who committed suicide in 2016 with the help of doctor-prescribed drugs under the state's new aid-in-dying law, according to a first-of-its-kind report released late Tuesday.

A snapshot of the patients who took advantage of the law mirrors what's been seen in OR, which was the first state to legalize the practice almost two decades ago.

During the first six month's of California's right-to-die law, 111 people in the state ended their lives using lethal prescriptions.

Satistics on those taking their lives appeared in some respects to mirror those in OR, which was the first state to legalize the practice nearly 20 years ago, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The CDPH says of the 111 people who died, more than 87% were over 60 years of age. "The law happened at the right time for us". The law also states that doctors themselves should not prescribe the drug to them until n unless patients demand it. More than 94 percent of the patients had health insurance, including 57 percent on Medicare, Medicaid or California's Medi-Cal program.

At the time, OR was one of the only states that allowed physician-assisted suicide, including Vermont and Washington.

Compassion & Choices is the oldest nonprofit working to improve care and expand options for the end of life in the United States, with 450,000 members nationwide. The remaining 80 patients' outcomes were either unreported or died for reasons unrelated to taking the drug.