Assisted Suicide Deaths

Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

The state of Oregon is reporting a 30 percent increase in the number of people who died by assisted suicide in the last two years.

According to a new report issued by the state health department, 88 prescriptions for lethal medications were written during 2008 compared with 85 during 2007 and 65 during 2006.

“Of these, 54 patients took the (lethal) medications, 22 died of their underlying disease, and 12 were alive at the end of 2008,” the report stated.

The most common reasons for wanting suicide assistance were loss of autonomy (95 %), decreasing ability to participate in activities (92 %), loss of dignity (92 %) and inadequate pain control (5 %).

The majority of the victims were white and well-educated individuals between the ages of 55 and 84 who were suffering mostly from cancer.
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