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Oregon’s aid-in-dying law turns 20

October 27, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act is now 20 years old.

Voters approved the aid-in-dying proposal in 1994 and it then survived a repeal effort. The law that took effect Oct. 27, 1997 made Oregon the first state to make it legal for a doctor to prescribe a life-ending drug to a terminally ill patient of sound mind who makes the request. It took more than a decade for another state to follow.

The Oregon Health Authority says more than 1,100 people used the law to die through the end of 2016. The median age of the deceased was 71, and most suffered from cancer.

The patient must swallow the life-ending drug without help; it is illegal for a doctor to administer it.

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