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Death with Dignity: State health dept. releases data for 2012

Washington State's fourth annual Death with Dignity Act report was released last week, with the Department of Health reporting that 104 people "who were dispensed lethal doses of medication in 2012 are known to have died."

The report also confirms at least 83 of the participants died after taking the medication in 2012, when 121 people in Washington requested and received the medication.

According to the DOH's data, the 121 prescriptions for the medication were written by 87 different physicians and dispensed by 30 different pharmacists. Also according to the report, the "participation rate" for this program increased 17 percent between 2011 and 2012. Since the passage of the state's law in 2009, 376 terminally ill adults have received the medication.

The demographics of those who died in 2012 are a mixed bag, with patients ranging from ages 35 to 95. More than 90 percent lived in Western Washington, and most had cancer. According to the DOH, most of those who made the decision cited their "loss of autonomy" as a main concern.

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