By Wesley J. Smith
Oregon, a state that has considerably liberalized its assisted-suicide laws, has an ongoing youth and general suicide crisis on its hands.
In February the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing that suicide was the leading cause of death among Oregon youth ages 10 to 24 in 2018, up from the second leading cause of death in 2017. Oregon is now ranked 11th highest in the nation for youth suicide death rates (up from 17th in 2017).
The change in rank is due to multiple factors: There was a rise in the suicide rate as well as a drop in the rate of unintentional injury deaths, the former leading cause. The unintentional injury category includes overdose deaths and motor vehicle accidents. While the suicide rate has increased, the unintentional injury rate decreased from 2017 to 2018.
“Suicide continues to be a concerning problem in Oregon across all age groups, including youth, as this new data confirms,” said Dana Hargunani, Oregon Health Authority’s chief medical officer. “We continue to prioritize work across Oregon to support young people in schools, at home and in our communities. Fortunately, we are able to apply best practices that work to prevent suicide, and there are many ways you can get involved.”
Of course, the state’s suicide numbers exclude the thousands of people who have died from assisted suicide since 1997, and state public-health bureaucrats remain clueless of the possibility that allowing assisted suicide for one group of people might give others the idea that self-killing is a splendid way to end suffering.
The OHA has conflicting mandates when it comes to suicide: promoting it for the sick while striving to prevent it among the young and others. Sorry, that’s not how life works.
Editor’s note. Wesley’s great columns appear at National Review Online and are reposted with permission.