At End of Life Choices California, one of our major objectives is to spread the word about all of the medical options Californians have at the end of their lives for dying with dignity, including (if they qualify) medical aid in dying. That objective is so important that it sits at the heart of our mission statement:
EOLCCA provides Californians the information and support to successfully navigate their legal end-of-life options.
Knowing one’s choices is key
It continues to surprise us that few Californians take advantage of the End of Life Option Act. We understand that there are many reasons for that. For example, many individuals (including doctors) may not know about the law, or they may not support it on religious or other grounds. We just want to make sure that, at the very least, Californians know about the law so–if they qualify–they have the choice to use it.
With that in mind, I recorded a Perspective piece for KQED (the public radio station in northern California), about how the law clearly benefited one of our clients, along with mention about how few Californians use the law. By the end of 2021 (the last year for which we have usage data), less than a quarter of 1% of deaths in California resulted from using it that year.
Looking at the raw numbers, in 2021, 772 individuals had prescriptions written, and 448 ingested and died from the drugs prescribed that year. NOTE: We always see a disparity between prescriptions written and ingestion because many people end up dying on their own–but feel great relief knowing they have the drugs if they need them.
If you would like to listen to my Perspective, here’s the link. And–hey–please spread the word! Thank you.
Stewart Florsheim serves on the Board of Directors of End of Life Choices California and chairs its Outreach and Education Committee. He has been an activist and leader in the end-of-life choice movement in California since 2003. During that time he was deeply involved in the effort to successfully pass the California End of Life Option Act in 2015. Stewart has given many presentations on end-of-life choice, including on radio and TV.
EOLCCA supports a strong team of experienced volunteers throughout the state, ready to help anyone, anywhere in California free of charge with information and support regarding all end-of-life planning and choices, including aid in dying through the California End of Life Option Act. You can find comprehensive information on our user-friendly website. To support our work, or request an educational presentation, please visit ways to help. Thank you.