Suicide is on the Rise in Washington State
The number of suicides appears to be rising in Washington State, which legalized assisted suicide in 2008. If the reports represent the beginning of a trend, Washington will be exhibiting the same correlation between legal assisted suicide and other suicides as Oregon, the only other US state with legal assisted suicide. In Oregon, the suicide rate, which had been declining through the 1990s began to rise in the year 2000, three years after legalization; by 2010 it was 35% above the national average (http://www.oregon.gov/DHS/news/2010news/2010-0909a.pdf?ga=t).
Here are some of the alarming recent reports:
• In the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland in the southeastern part of the state), “The number of people who have killed themselves is up nearly 28 percent so far this year compared with all of last year” (http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/10/09/1672438/suicide-in-the-tri-cities-a-painful.html#storylink=misearch).
• The number of suicides in the 2010-2011 school year at the University of Washington was only one less than in the three previous years combined (http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=11&sid=494969).
• Suicide rates are rising across three counties in the southeast. On September 21, 2011, a local tv station reported that there have been “25 suicides so far this year in Benton County — that’s higher than the yearly totals for the past three years — and we still haven’t reached the end of the year. Franklin County has seen more suicides as well, and Walla Walla County has already almost doubled the amount of suicides committed in all of last year (http://www.keprtv.com/news/130320273.html).
An excellent letter to the editor of the Tri-City Herald, published October 15, says, in part:
I was glad to see that the Herald gave extensive coverage to the tragic fact of suicide. At the same time, I remember how the editorial board, only a short while back, had given their unequivocal support to the tragically misguided legislation that enabled assisted suicide.
Discussions during the campaign included the warning that this type of legislation represents the proverbial “‘slippery slope.” Now that suicide, the unassisted type, comes into focus, the editorial board seems to have forgotten how its policy paved the way for the increase we are now forced to witness.
Taking suicide, albeit assisted suicide, off the taboo list clearly provided fodder to the weak…(http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2011/10/15/1681743/assisted-suicide.html).
True Dignity thanks the letter writer, Rainer Volk of Pasco, for speaking the plain truth. Legalizing assisted suicide for some people with problems makes suicide seem an acceptable solution to all kinds of problems.