111 Patients Took Own Lives in First Six Months After California Approved Doctor-Assisted Deaths

Government statistics show that 111 people in California took their own lives using lethal prescriptions in the first six months after physician-assisted deaths became legal in the state.

The rate of physician-assisted deaths in California between June and December 2016 was 6 per 10,000 deaths, much lower than the 2016 rate in Oregon, which was 37 per 10,000 deaths, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In California, 191 prescriptions for life-ending drugs were written for terminally ill patients as of the end of December, even though only 111 of those patients had used the drugs by that point.

Most of the patients who took their own lives were white, college-educated cancer patients older than 60, the Times reported.

California was the fifth state to permit patients with less than six months to live to ask for end-of-life drugs from their doctors.

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