Maine is considering legalizing physician assisted suicide (LD 347). Why would we want that? With appropriate palliative care, nearly all pain can be treated. According to a story published in the Los Angeles Times (Aug., 2016), it takes about 90 pills to commit PAS and it has been reported that it is frequently not a predictable or peaceful death. Complications can and do arise, including having to take other medications to keep the 90 pills down.

Most of the laws have no requirements for a witness to be present at the time of death, which could lead to elder abuse. Also, there is no requirement for families to be notified, so that someone could find out about a family member having committed PAS only after it has happened.

Will inexpensive suicide drugs be a temptation for insurance companies and/or family members to save money? There are just too many opportunities for abuse. Maine has the oldest population of all 50 states and the state’s elderly deserve to be treated with real dignity.

Suicide is not a solution to life’s problems for anyone. Providing compassionate medical care, such as hospice or palliative care, is truly the dignified solution.

Ron Charpentier, Lewiston

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