111 people died under California's new right-to-die law

111 people died under California's new right-to-die law

A little over 75% of the 111 people, were 60-89 years of age, and 89.5% were white.

The law, first introduced in 2016, allows patients who are terminally ill to voluntarily take their lives. The first report covers the period from the effective date of the law to the end of year (June 9, 2016 - December 31, 2016) and subsequent reports will be for full calendar years.

It reported 204 people received life-ending prescriptions a year ago. If the lethal drugs are prescribed, the person can still decide whether to take them, but they are required to administer them without assistance. The patient must verbally ask for the lethal prescription to a doctor twice and with at least 15 days between each request.

How this new law takes effect in the nation's most populous state could provide some insight as to what might happen should other states push their own laws.

Doctor-assisted deaths are also legal in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington state and Washington D.C.

State officials warn that people should be cautious in drawing hasty conclusions from this report, as it only covers six months of data.

"The state's data show that even during the early months of the law's implementation, the law was working well and terminally ill Californians were able to take comfort in knowing that they had this option to peacefully end intolerable suffering", he said in a statement.

The law helped Californians such as former Marine Tom House, who experienced a precipitous decline in his health as a result of heart disease, colon cancer and failing eyesight.

'Basically it mirrors the experience in Oregon, ' Burkin said. That means that 59 people who requested life-ending medication didn't wind up taking it by the end of 2016 (21 others died without taking the drugs in the first place). Most were older than 65 and had cancer.

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