On February 26, the Oregon Health Authority released its Death with Dignity Act Annual Report about 2020.
The Oregon Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) allows terminally ill Oregonians who meet specific qualifications to end their lives through voluntary self-administration of a lethal dose of medications prescribed by a physician for that purpose. The Act requires the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to collect information about the patients and physicians who participate in the Act and to publish an annual statistical report.
In 2020, the OHA made no referrals to the Oregon Medical Board for failure to comply with DWDA requirements.
In 2020, 370 people were reported to have received prescriptions under the DWDA.
As of January 22, 2021, 245 people had died in 2020 from ingesting the prescribed medications, including 22 who had received prescriptions in previous years.
Demographic characteristics of DWDA patients were similar to those of previous years: most patients were aged 65 years or older (81%) and white (97%).
While cancer still accounted for most underlying illnesses (66%), patients with heart disease (11%) outnumbered those with neurological disease (8%) for the first time in 2020.