Your basic explainer of Colorado's new 'right to die' law

Next with Kyle Clark 9NEWS @ 6. 11/14/2016

Coloradans' down-ballot decisions are getting lost in the national political turmoil, but we made some landmark choices in November. One being legalizing doctor-assisted suicide.

Voters approve Proposition 106

Before, doctors who practiced this could face manslaughter charges, and professional discipline. This new law protects any doctor who prescribes a dose of a drug that will end a patient's life.

Patients who want to end their own lives must be over 18 and diagnosed with a terminal illness that gives them six months or fewer to live.

Two doctors must sign off on this to ensure the patient is mentally capable of making the choice.

You cannot be an Alzheimer's or be a dementia patient.

Your doctor can choose not to prescribe. Doctors who choose to offer it have the choice of what to prescribe, but the drug most commonly used is a barbiturate, often Secobarbital. It's more commonly used in much smaller doses as a sleeping pill.

It's expensive. A legal dose costs between $3,000 to $5,000.

It's up to individual insurers if the drug would be covered.

Patients have to make three separate requests - two verbally and one written, before a doctor can write the prescription.

The law takes effect in early January.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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