The Washington State Department of Health has released its first annual report for Washington's Death with Dignity Act, which was enacted via a voters' initiative in 2008. The Act, which legalized assisted suicide, went into effect on March 5, 2009. A copy of the report can be viewed here: http://www.doh.wa.gov/dwda/forms/DWDA_2009.pdf
According to the report, lethal prescriptions intended to kill people were dispensed to 63 individuals. The majority were 65 years old or older, and educated. Nearly half had private insurance. These factors are consistent with their being individuals with money. Older people with money are prime targets of abuse. See Met Life Study on Elder abuse at: http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/studies/mmi-study-broken-trust-elders-family-finances.pdf
According to the report, 23% took this step due a concern about being a "burden." This is a marker of possible abuse because the person was pressured to feel that way.
Washington's Act is, regardless, coercive: An heir who will benefit from the death, is allowed to help the person sign up for the lethal dose; there is no requirement of consent at the time of death. See: Margaret Dore, "Death with Dignity: What do we Tell our Clients?," Washington State Bar News, July 2009. http://wsba.org/media/publications/barnews/jul-09+deathwithdignity.htm .
After the death, even prosecutors are required to treat the death (voluntary or not) as "Natural." http://www.doh.wa.gov/dwda/forms/MEsAndCoroners.pdf. Elders abused by the Act have no recourse.
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Attorney at law – Seattle Washington