In its first report on New Jersey’s year-old medical aid-in-dying law, the state said 12 terminally ill people used provisions of the law to take fatal doses of medication in 2019.
The report, issued by the Office of the Chief State Medical Examiner, covered the five-month period between Aug. 1, 2019, when the law went into effect, and the end of the year.
The law allows physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs after two meetings at least 15 days apart with patients who are likely to die within six months. According to the report, most of the patients took cocktails of multiple drugs. The law requires that patients take the medications themselves.
One patient lived in Burlington County. No one in Camden or Gloucester Counties used the law.
The patients ranged in age from 50 to 93. Half were men, and half were married. Eleven were white, and one was Asian. Nine had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Seven of the patients had cancer, and three had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Ten died at home.