'Suicide Kit' crackdown bill passed by Oregon state Senate

It's more than ironic that the Oregon state Senate is "appalled" by companies selling suicide kits and Oregon residents buying them, while those with a so-called terminal illness can legally kill themselves.

Apparently, the culture of radical self-determination is to be limited when the media embarrasses a legislature into action.

According to the Associated Press story: "They [Oregon's Senate] unanimously passed a bill proposed in response to the death of a 29-year-old Eugene man, Nick Klonoski, who killed himself using a suicide kit he ordered through the mail from a California company. ... "We want to send a message, to make it very clear, if you are in the business of marketing or selling suicide kits to people, you will be held accountable," said Sen. Floyd Prozanski, a Eugene Democrat who sponsored the bill. ... But state lawmakers were appalled by Klonoski's death, which drew attention after a March story in The Register-Guard of Eugene."

Oregonians, and their elected representatives, are now coming face-to-face with the grizzly specter of suicide.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. In 2007, it was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths. The overall rate was 11.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. An estimated 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death.

Suicidal behavior is complex. Some risk factors vary with age, gender or ethnic group and may occur in combination or change over time. For more information on suicide, visit the Web site of the National Institute of Mental Health.

If you are in a crisis and need help right away:
Call this toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, every day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service available to anyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential.

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