Health News

Nearly 400 people used California assisted death law in 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California health officials say 374 terminally ill people took drugs to end their lives in 2017, the first full year after a law making the option legal took effect.

The California Department of Public Health said Friday that 577 people received aid-in-dying drugs in 2017, but not everyone used them.

Of the 374 who died, about 90 percent were more than 60 years of age, about 95 percent were insured and about 83 percent were receiving hospice or similar care.

The figures are more than double those from the first six months after the law went into effect in 2016, when 191 people received life-ending drugs, while 111 people took them and died.

A judge briefly halted the law this spring, but an appeals court has reinstated it.

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