Oregonians still satisfied with their law after 20 years

Oregonians still satisfied with their law after 20 years

The Oregon assisted dying law has been providing comfort at the end of life to Oregonians for 20 years. Their Death with Dignity Act officially took effect on October 27, 1997. According to the Death with Dignity National Center “the simple fact is that the Act works exactly as intended; has resulted in no negative outcomes; and has allowed Oregonians peace of mind and self determination over how and when they die….. Perhaps most important, the Act brought to the fore a conversation about death and dying in America that was long overdue, and gave terminally ill Oregonians the chance to determine the time and manner of their death.”


On 23 February 2017, The Oregon Health Authority released their 19th Annual Report on the use of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. According to the report, 102 physicians wrote prescriptions to 204 Oregon residents under the Act during 2016, which was a slight decline over the previous year. 65.2 percent of people who obtained medications died after taking them – a total of 133 people during 2016. Most patients were white, well-educated, had cancer or Motor neurone disease.

Click for the Death with Dignity article on key report findings

Click for the full Oregon Death with Dignity Act Data summary 2016 report

Dr Leigh Dolin was President of the Oregon Medical Association when the Death With Dignity Act was passed in 1997. Dr Dolin recently flew to Melbourne and Sydney to speak with State Members of Parliament about the Oregonian experience. He explained that Oregon’s voluntary assisted-dying framework has actually improved the doctor-patient relationship because it encourages patients and doctors to tackle tough questions from the outset of a terminal diagnosis. Click for more, including video of presentation by Dr Dolin on 8 August 2017.

Click for more from the Death with Dignity National Center about the 20 year commemoration