Data was collected from January 2011 until the end of February 2012. During this period there were 71 cases of assisted dying. This remains lows as a portion of total deaths at 0.24% of all deaths in Oregon. The figure was 0.2% for 2010, showing a small rise of 0.04%.
Since the law was passed in 1997, 935 people have had a life-ending prescription written and 596 have died taking the medication. This demonstrates that approximately 40% of people who have access to the life-ending medication do not take it, but take comfort from knowing it is there.
As in previous years, over 90% were enrolled in hospice care and died at home. Similarly, the three most frequently mentioned end-of-life concerns were decreasing ability to participate in activities that made life enjoyable, loss of autonomy and loss of dignity.
So it’s business as usual in Oregon: there has been no ‘fourfold’ increase in deaths as is often wrongly claimed and there is no evidence to suggest a slippery slope or that non-terminally ill adults are having assisted deaths.