Physician-assisted suicide in Oregon in 2015.

The latest report from Oregon on that State’s physician-assisted suicide law reveals another substantial rise in such deaths and an even larger rise in the number of prescriptions for lethal drugs issued.

The Oregon Health Authority has published its report on legalised physician-assisted suicide in the State during Calendar Year 2015.  The report shows a 40 per cent increase over 2014 in the number of prescriptions for lethal drugs issued and a 26 per cent rise in the number of deaths from PAS – though this latter figure may need to be revised upwards, as it takes no account of 38 deaths of recipients of lethal drugs for which it is not known whether death was the result of ingestion. Oregon’s latest death rate from PAS is the equivalent of 1,934 such deaths per annum in England and Wales if a similar law were to be enacted here.  A PAS law such as Oregon’s in Scotland would add another 208 assisted suicide deaths to the annual total.  The report also shows that the median length of the doctor-patient relationship for those who died in this way in 2015 was just nine weeks within a range of one week to nearly three years.  The report can be accessed here.


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