Washington state's Death with Dignity Act has seen a significant increase in what state health department officials call "participation."  The latest report was released this week.

Since the act was passed in 2009,  550 people have taken a lethal dose of prescription medication to end their life.    According to the latest report from the Washington State Department of Health:

  • The ages of those who participated was between 29 and 95 years of age
  • 175 people  were given the lethal doses of medication (the legally allowed method) and of those, 153 are known to have died (between January 1, and December 31, 2013).
  • 95% of them lived on the West side of the state.

An interesting fact about the program, again this year, the overwhelming reason given by people as to why they chose the Death With Dignity option was their concern over the loss of independence due to their physical circumstances.

The Death with Dignity program is very closely controlled and monitored by the Department of Health, and ONLY open to certified terminally ill patients.