111 terminally ill end lives under new California law

End-of-life prescription drugs taken by 111 Californians last year

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law a year ago that allows doctors to prescribe the lethal dose of drugs to their terminally ill patients who request the drugs.

The data from the California Department of Public Health found that 191 individuals received prescriptions for aid-in-dying drugs between June 9, 2016, and December 31 of the same year.

Of those who died, 87 percent were 60 years old or older. This data is the California Department of Public Health's first report on the effects of the law since it was implemented on June 9, 2016, Fox News reports. "We continue to work to ensure that every terminally ill Californian has equal access to all end-of-life care options, including hospice, pain control, palliative care and medical aid in dying". The report noted that 173 physicians prescribed lethal drugs to 191 patients previous year. A majority (59%) had been diagnosed with cancer. Alexandra Snyder, an attorney with Life Legal Defense Foundation, said the data did not show whether the patients were suffering from depression or coerced into taking the drugs by doctors. If the lethal drugs are prescribed, the person can still decide whether to take them, but they are required to administer them without assistance.

California officials said caution should be exercised in trying to draw conclusions from the report that is based on only six months of data.

California is not the only state with such a law in the United States.

While California is significantly more diverse than OR, the California Dept. of Health report almost mirrors what has been occurring in Oregon.

But the California's law gained momentum after Brittany Maynard, who moved from California to Oregon, where she could legally die with medication prescribed under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. Most were older than 65 and had cancer.



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