The End of Life Option Act allows qualified terminally ill adults in California the ability to obtain and self-administer aid-in-dying drugs.
They were among 191 people in the state who received the prescriptions from their doctors; not all ended up using the drugs to kill themselves, state health officials said. 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. OR became the first state to adopt right-to-die legislation in 1997, and doctor-assisted deaths are legal in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C., according to USA Today.
90 percent of the patients who died were white, and 58 percent had attained a bachelor's degree or higher.
173 doctors wrote the 191 prescriptions. Doctors did not report the results of the remaining 59 prescriptions. The median age was 73, and the majority had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, according to the report.
California officials said caution should be exercised in trying to draw conclusions from the report that is based on only six months of data.
While California is significantly more diverse than OR, the California Dept. of Health report almost mirrors what has been occurring in Oregon.
California became the fourth state to pass a law offering the option to terminally ill people, joining Oregon, Washington and Vermont.
But the California's law gained momentum after Brittany Maynard, who moved from California to Oregon, where she could legally die with medication prescribed under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act. Of those, 133 people died from ingesting the drugs, including 19 recipients from prior years.
It reported 204 people received life-ending prescriptions past year. Most were older than 65 and had cancer.