Washington Reports at Least 70 Assisted Suicides

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Washington Reports at Least 70 Assisted Suicides


Washington state may already have surpassed Oregon as the leader in legal physician-assisted suicides. According to data released earlier this month by the state's Department of Health, at least 70 Washington residents died in 2011 as a result of taking lethal drug doses prescribed by doctors, Baptist Press reports. The total may have been higher, however; it is uncertain if five other people who died after receiving prescriptions of lethal medication did so after taking the drug. Another 19 people who received the prescription died without taking the medication. Oregon set its record of 71 assisted suicides in 2011, and has recorded 596 since it became the first state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997. Washington, which legalized the practice in 2009, has reported at least 157 such deaths. As in Oregon, the three leading concerns expressed by Washington residents who received lethal prescriptions in 2011 were reduced ability "to engage in activities making life enjoyable" (89 percent), loss of autonomy (87 percent) and "loss of dignity" (79 percent).

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