“End of Life Op­tions” took e≠ect as soon as Gov. Hick­en­looper signed it Fri­day.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By David Migoya

Gov. John Hick­en­looper on Fri­day signed into law a voter-passed ini­tia­tive to al­low ter­mi­nally ill adults to end their lives with pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion.

Propo­si­tion 106, known as “End of Life Op­tions,” took ef­fect the mo­ment Hick­en­looper penned his name.

Hick­en­looper, one of five Colorado elected of­fi­cials to sup­port the mea­sure pub­licly, said the law gives peo­ple a crit­i­cal choice.

“I’ve seen first­hand the suf­fer­ing of those at the end of their lives,” he said through a spokes­woman who noted how he had seen friends pass away. “This is about giv­ing the ter­mi­nally ill the right to make their own de­ci­sion.”

Vot­ers over­whelm­ingly passed the mea­sure in Novem­ber by a 2to-1 mar­gin with more than 1.7 mil­lion votes in fa­vor. The aid-in-dy­ing law al­lows peo­ple with a ter­mi­nal ill­ness with fewer than six months to live to re­quest life-end­ing pre­scrip­tions from their doc­tor.

“A ma­jor­ity of Coloradans, Amer­i­cans and physi­cians rec­og­nize med­i­cal-aid-in-dy­ing as an end-of-life op­tion that should be avail­able to ter­mi­nally ill pa­tients,” Den­ver res­i­dent Matt Lar­son said in a state­ment.

Di­ag­nosed with brain can­cer in May 2015, Lar­son said the law “means that ter­mi­nally ill Coloradans can have more open, hon­est dis­cus­sions with their doc­tors about op­tions at the end of their lives. Few Coloradans will ac­tu­ally ex­er­cise the op­tion to take med­i­cal-aid-in-dy­ing, but count­less Coloradans will ben­e­fit from the peace of mind of sim­ply hav­ing the op­tion.”

Op­po­nents wor­ried that pa­tients are not su­per­vised at the time they in­gest the pills, and that the law would cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for fraud and abuse, in­clud­ing fam­ily mem­bers who could ben­e­fit from some­one’s pre­ma­ture death.

Pro­po­nents of the mea­sure have said they know of a num­ber of peo­ple who are al­ready in­quir­ing about how the process will work.

Com­pas­sion & Choices, the na­tion’s largest non­profit fo­cused on end-of-life care, has helped pass med­i­cal-aid-in-dy­ing laws in five other states: Cal­i­for­nia, Mon­tana, Ore­gon, Ver­mont and Wash­ing­ton. The group has said it will be­gin a bilin­gual ed­u­ca­tion cam­paign for Colorado pa­tients and med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, in­clud­ing two statewide hot­lines that physi­cians and phar­ma­cists can call for con­fi­den­tial con­sul­ta­tion with other pro­fes­sion­als.

A re­quest form is avail­able on the non­profit’s web­site.

Even though a doc­tor can pre­scribe the life-end­ing med­i­ca­tion, health care providers and fa­cil­i­ties such as phar­ma­cies are not re­quired to dis­pense it.

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