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Oregon's Physician-Assisted Suicide Law:
341 Suicides in 10 Years

by Kevin Caruso

March 20, 2008

Oregon is the only state where physician-assisted suicide is legal. The so-called "Death with Dignity Act", the law that allows this practice, was first passed by Oregon voters in November 1994 by a margin of 51% to 49%. However, a legal injunction kept the Act from being implemented until October 27, 1997, when the injunction was lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The controversial Act allows terminally ill residents of Oregon to receive prescriptions for lethal doses of medication which they can then self-administer. (The Act also states that deaths which occur under this law are not considered suicides.)

The Act requires that a patient must be:

1) A resident of Oregon

2) An adult (18+ years old)

3) Capable (able to make and communicate decisions)

4) Diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within 6 months.

To date, 341 Oregonians have died using this Act.

In 2007, 49 patients died using the Act, with 46 having received prescriptions in 2007 and 3 in 2006. A total of 85 prescriptions were written in 2007 (many people who get a prescription do not take the medication).

The majority of patients who use the Act have terminal cancer and are between 55 and 84 years of age.


If you are suicidal, immediate action is required; so please read the information on the home page of this website and take action.

Thank you,

Kevin Caruso

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