A woman in her mid-80s who was suffering from breast cancer became the first person known to have committed suicide under Oregon’s 1994 Death
With Dignity law—the only assisted suicide law in North America. The law allows doctors to prescribe—but not administer—lethal amounts of drugs to terminally ill patients certified by two physicians as having less than six months to live. The woman, whose name was kept confidential, took a deadly dose of barbiturates,
mixed with syrup and washed down with brandy. Surrounded by family, she died within a half hour. The family released a message the woman taped before her death, saying she looked forward to being “relieved of all the stress I have.” State officials plan to report on the law’s effects after they have documented 10 such deaths.
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