Last month, the first ever mandated statistical report on California’s aid-in-dying law was released. The report revealed that 111 terminally ill adults took doctor-prescribed drugs last year to end their lives. The report was released by the California Department of Public Health, who will release the report each year on or before July 1st, and it cataloged illnesses, ages and other data that includes information on those who sought and used aid-in-dying drugs. California’s End of Life Option Act went into effect June 9, 2016 and it allows assisted suicide in the state. Bob Davila, spokesman for the California State Board of Pharmacy, stated:
Any unused drug that is prescribed for aid in dying has to be returned in person to either the pharmacy where it was purchased to be destroyed or to another (government-designated) place where it can be destroyed
58.6 percent of those who sought the drugs to end their life suffered from cancer, 18 percent had a neuromuscular disorder such as ALS and Parkinson’s, and others had heart and respiratory diseases. The median age of the people that received the drugs was 73, with 42 percent age 80 and over. The report found that the 102 out of the 111 people who took the drugs were white, with Asians making up six of the total and blacks and Hispanics at three each. One surprising fact was that 191 prescriptions were actually written, but only 111 people actually ingested their aid-in-dying drugs. We will have to wait in see if the number of people that use the drugs will increase of decrease in the next report.