Here is a link to an analysis from the American Journal of Public Health, showing that suicide is increasing and is now the leading cause of injury death in the United States: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/pdf/10.2105/AJPH.2012.300960.
More people commit suicide than are killed in car crashes.
The rate of fatal poisoning thought to be unintentional is also increasing, and the article hypothesized that part of the reason for this was recreational use of opiate drugs. Those who, rather than dying from an overdose, lived to tell their story to researchers told them that they obtained these drugs from friends and relatives. Opioids are unrelated to the barbiturates that are used to cause intentional death by poisoning in assisted suicide, but barbiturates are also used recreationally (http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbiturate#Recreational_use), which means they have the potential to cause unintentional poisoning.
When a person is approved for assisted suicide where that is legal, he keeps the lethal dose of barbiturates in his house. Some people in Oregon have kept these drugs much longer than six months, which means not only that the initial prognosis was wrong but that the drugs were possibly available for someone to misuse. There is no supervision of the drugs’ storage after the prescription is filled.
If the number of suicides is under-reported, as the articles postulates, while the number of “unintentional” poisoning deaths has risen, it seems reasonable to wonder whether some of these poisoning deaths are in fact suicides.
At the very least, the number of poisoning deaths from overdoses of prescription drugs shows both that the means of suicide are widely available and that suicide without assistance can be accomplished without the use of violent means like firearms.
The article recognizes that suicide is a problem and calls for greater efforts to prevent it. True Dignity agrees.
Surely, as part of our society-wide effort to stem the increasing loss of life from suicide, we should avoid giving governmental, medical, or societal approval to suicide as a way to solve any problem at all. Surely we should not provide assistance in suicide to anyone.