During the first six months of the end-of-life act in California, a total of 111 people used lethal prescriptions to end their own life.
59% of these people had cancer. The majority of the people that died were high educated (58%) and white (90%). 6 out of every 10,000 deaths between June and December 2016 was due to the lethal medication prescribed by a doctor.
The data shows that 191 people got the prescriptions and only 111 (58%) patients had taken the pills within this time frame. The majority of people were insured (96.4%) and enrolled in hospice (83.8%).
The act allows terminally ill people to request life-ending drugs from their doctors. It was signed into law in October 2015, and in effect in June 2016. The End of Life Option Act is modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity act.
Interesting comparison with Oregon
California, June 2016 — December 2016
- 59% of those who died using a lethal prescription had cancer.
- 46% of those who died were male
- 90% who died were white, 3% Latino and 5% Asian
- 58% who died had a bachelor’s degree or higher
- 57% who died had Medicare, Medicaid or another type of government insurance; 31% had private insurance; 4% were uninsured
- The rate of lethal prescription deaths was 6 per 10,000 total deaths in the state.
Oregon, January 2016 — December 2016
- 79% of those who died using a lethal prescription had cancer.
- 54% of those who died were male
- 96% who died were white, 1.5% Latino and 1.5% Asian
- 50% who died had a bachelor’s degree or higher
- 70% who died had Medicare, Medicaid or another type of government insurance; 30% had private insurance; fewer than 1% were uninsured.
- The rate of lethal prescription deaths was 37 per 10,000 total deaths in the state.
To read the full report, click here.