Assisted Suicide Laws:
Suicide Prevention Efforts are Undermined

An older man sits on a bench looking at the street. His hair is white and he wears a dark colored jacket. He faces away from camera.

Michael Freeland

“Oregon’s flimsy safeguards do not protect people with psychiatric and other mental health disabilities.”*

Despite struggling for forty-three years with acute depression and suicidal ideation, Michael Freeland received a lethal script for Oregon’s assisted suicide drugs. His physician did not think a mental health evaluation was “necessary.” Fortunately, Mr. Freeland was offered improved medical care and suicide prevention services, forgoing the use of the drugs and dying a natural death. Before he died, he was able to reconcile with his daughter which may have not been possible had he taken his life. Only 4% of all patients who received assisted suicide drugs in Oregon were referred for a psychiatric evaluation. But for even those patients we see – a psychiatric evaluation is no safeguard at all.


Gregory Hamilton, M.D. and Catherine Hamilton, M.A., Competing Paradigms of Responding to Assisted-Suicide Requests in Oregon: Case Report, presented at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, New York, New York, May 6, 2004. N. Gregory Hamilton, M.D., Testimony to the Select Committee on the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, House of Lords, Portland, Oregon, December 10, 2004.

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