In this Sept. 11, 2015 file photo, Debbie Ziegler, mother of Brittany Maynard, speaks to the media after the passage of legislation, which would allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives in Sacramento, Calif.
Carl Costas—AP
By Katie Reilly
June 28, 2017

During the first six month’s of California’s right-to-die law, 111 people in the state ended their lives using lethal prescriptions.

The law — which allows terminally ill adults to obtain life-ending drugs from their doctors — took effect on June 9, 2016. Between then and the end of the year, 191 people received prescriptions under the act and 111 people died after taking prescribed aid-in-dying drugs, according to a report released Tuesday by the California Department of Public Health.

In that time period, a total of 258 people began the end-of-life process under the law, which requires patients to make two verbal requests to their doctors at least 15 days apart.

Of the 111 people who took their lives, 87.4% were 60 or older, and 83.8% were receiving hospice or palliative care, according to the report. Almost 90% of the people were white, and more than half were women.

California is one of six states that have granted a so-called “right-to-die” to people with terminal illnesses. Five states have passed laws and Montana’s courts have allowed the practice.

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