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Oregon officials have released their tenth statewide report on the status of assisted suicide, and it shows the number of people who died is on the rise.

The report showed the number of people getting drugs to use in taking their own lives is increasing as well.

More people received lethal drugs from doctors to kill themselves than any previous year under the state’s first-in-the-nation law legalizing assisted suicide.

The report showed 85 people received the drugs (an increase of 20 from the year prior) while 49 people had their physicians help them kill themselves (up slightly from 2007). Three of the people who killed themselves in 2007 received the prescription for the lethal cocktail in 2006.

Since the Oregon assisted suicide law took effect, 341 patients have killed themselves.

One leading euthanasia opponent, Rita Marker, of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, said she’s concerned doctors don’t do more to help patients address the mental health issues that likely prompt them to consider suicide.

“During 2007, not one patient who died under Oregon’s assisted suicide law was referred for psychiatric or psychological evaluation before receiving the prescription for lethal drugs,” she said. [19Mar08,, Salem OR; #4273]