More Terminally Ill Patients Seek Aid In Dying In Oregon Under The Death With Dignity Act, Reports Show


More people with terminal illnesses died in 2023 under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act than in any previous year, according to new research.

The Oregon Health Authority stated that 367 persons used prescriptions to die under the law, up from 304 in 2022. The law, enacted in 1998, applies to patients who meet specified criteria, including having six months or less to live.

“This law is all about giving people peace of mind during their final moments of life,” said Kim Callinan, president of Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life care advocacy group.

According to the health authority, the number of people receiving prescriptions for deadly amounts of drugs has climbed from 433 in 2022 to 560 in 2023. The increase is due in part to a reform made by the legislature last year, which removed the requirement that patients be Oregon residents.

According to Oregon Health Authority Spokesperson Jonathan Modie, more prescriptions are reported annually than deaths for a variety of causes. Some persons were administered life-ending medications in 2022 but did not take them until 2023. Others died before taking the meds, and in other cases, it was unclear whether the person utilized the medications or not, Modie added. The health authorities does not keep track of why people do not take their medications.

Health officials say it’s unclear how many people died after using the drugs outside of Oregon. Under some circumstances, the health authority may not be contacted, according to agency representatives in a news statement.

Health officials stated at least 23 people died who were not Oregon residents.

The health authority did not keep track of how many prescriptions were written for patients outside of Oregon, according to officials. Officials will keep track of those data this year.

According to health experts, 82% of people who died after using Death with Dignity medication were 65 years old or older, and 66% had cancer.

According to state statistics, the youngest person with a prescription was 29, while the oldest was 102.

“For those who want it,” Callinan went on to say, “it brings tremendous peace of mind.”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.