(AP) – Three hundred and thirty four people were euthanised using drugs, a year after a law was passed in California in the United States allowing them to do so.
California health officials report that 374 terminally ill people took drugs to end their lives in 2017, the first full year after a law made the option legal.
The California Department of Public Health said 577 people received aid-in-dying drugs (as it is called) last year, but not everyone used them.
The law allows adults to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a doctor has determined they have six months or less to live.
Following which they can self-administer the drugs.
Of the 374 who died, about 90 percent were more than 60 years old, about 95 percent were insured and about 83 percent were receiving hospice or similar care.
The median age was 74.
The figures are more than double those from the first six months after the law went into effect June 9, 2016.
In those early months, 191 people received life-ending drugs, while 111 people took them and died.
An appeal court last week reinstated the End of Life Option Act but gave opponents until July 2 to file objections.
US County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia ruled in May that the law is unconstitutional because it was adopted illegally when lawmakers passed it during a special Legislative session called to address health issues.
The law was passed in California after 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who was dying from brain cancer, had to move to Oregon in 2014 so she could end her life.
Doctor-assisted deaths are also legal in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C.