Jul 23, 2017 | Updated: 04:04 PM EDT

More Than 100 Californians Take Control Over The End Of Their Lives

Jun 29, 2017 11:13 PM EDT

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California's End of Life Option Act achieved what it had intended -- giving control over ending one's own life. As a result, 111 Californians ended their lives in the last half of 2016.

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During this time, 258 people began the process of ending their life, which involves seeking help from a doctor who prescribes the patient medication required to end life peacefully.

111 of those people "were reported by their physician to have died following ingestion of aid-in-dying drugs prescribed under EOLA." 21 passed due to their illness. The rest of the individuals' status "is currently undetermined, as there has been no outcome reported for these individuals within the time period covered by this report."

In order for an individual to be considered, they must meet several criteria, some of which include: 1) being above the age of 18, 2) 6 months or less to live due to terminal illness 2) making a verbal request to their physician, which must be 15 days apart, 3) a written request, 4) affirmation of decision 48 hours before they take the medication, 5) ability to self-administer medication void of any aid from another individual.

According to the report, a majority of those who took control over the end of their life were cancer patients.12.6 percent were under the age of 60, 89.5 percent were white, and 54.1 percent were female. Most of them were college educated.

Compassion and Choices, an advocacy group for the act, were happy to see the data. "The state's data show that even during the early months of the law's implementation, the law was working well and terminally ill Californians were able to take comfort in knowing that they had this option to peacefully end intolerable suffering," California's Compassion & Choices Director Matt Whitaker said. "We continue to work to ensure that every terminally ill Californian has equal access to all end-of-life care options, including hospice, pain control, palliative care and medical aid in dying." 

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