Since the passage of the Death With Dignity Act in 2009, quite a few Washingtonians have used it, according to the Washington State Department of Health.

This once hotly-contested issue has not been a topic of discussion much since the law was passed in 2009, but a significant number of residents have used it. This week, the Department of Health released its annual report.

The report for 2012 shows 104 people have known to have died.

The bill allows for participating physicians and pharmacies to prescribe medications that will allow for a person to end their life. The department says 121 fatal prescriptions were written last year by 87 different physicians and filled at 30 different pharmacies. At least 83 of the 104 people who used the program were known to have passed away as a direct result of the medications.

Since the bill passed, 376 people have used the Death With Dignity program. According to the latest report, the vast majority of the people who used it were suffering from terminal cancer. 90 percent live on the west side of the state. Ages ranged from 35 to 90 years.

Physicians and pharmacies can choose freely if they want to participate in the program, but ONLY those who officially join are allowed to dispense life-ending medications per strict guidelines.


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