The Oregon Death with Dignity Act has been in effect since October 27, 1997. It has worked as intended and without flaws or any evidence of abuse or coercion.
The Oregon Health Authority monitors and enforces compliance with the Act and each February produces an annual report. According to the latest available report, 143 terminally ill patients used the Oregon law to hasten their own death in 2017.
Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act has helped to improve end-of-life health care for thousands of Oregonians. We are proud Oregon leads the way in palliative care, hospice care and in providing peace of mind for the terminally ill.
Oregon voters approved the Death with Dignity Act at the ballot in 1994. In 1997, Oregonians reiterated their support when they defeated a ballot measure aiming to repeal the law. The Act went into into effect shortly thereafter, and implementation began in 1998. Over the 18 years since the law took effect, the State of Oregon reports over 1,500 terminally ill patients have received prescriptions for aid in dying medication, and just under 1,000 used that medication to hasten their deaths.
The Act has withstood multiple attempts to nullify it, both legislatively, in the Oregon legislature and the US Congress, and in federal courts. In 2006, US Supreme Court ruled that Oregon physicians can prescribe life-ending medication under the Act.
Resources and Additional Information
About the Statute and Its Implementation
- Full text of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
- Annual reports on the usage of the Act (our visual summary of the 2015 and 2016 reports)
- Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division – provides information about the statute, offers request and compliance forms
Resources for Patients
- How to access the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
- End of Life Choices Oregon – a nonprofit organization which helps patients navigate the request process of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.
- Form for patients – Request for Medication to End My Life in a Peaceful and Dignified Manner