Swiss report steady rise in assisted suicides
GENEVA | The number of assisted suicides in Switzerland has increased steadily since the late 1990s and now makes up about five of every 1,000 deaths.
The first official figures compiled by Swiss authorities show that cases of assisted suicide rose from 43 in 1998 to 300 in 2009.
The Federal Statistical Office says almost 90 percent of cases involved people 55 or older.
More women than men seek assisted suicide.
Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since the early 20th century, and several groups provide counseling and medical support to those wanting to kill themselves.
The figures released Tuesday cover only assisted suicides by Swiss residents.
Groups such as Dignitas that provide services to foreign residents keep separate records.