The incidence of drug induced suicide attempts has risen between 2005 and 2009 in men aged between 21 and 34, according to a study. There was a 55 % rise in emergency room visits on account of such attempts during this period. This increase is due to the abuse of pain medications, anti-depressants, insomnia and anti-anxiety pills.
The study was carried out by the Centre for Behavioural Health Statistics and Quality at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The researcher working for the study, Peter J. Delany, PhD, Md., said that this study has shown an increase in the number of people who use prescription medications for suicide attempts. This was indicated by increased emergency room visits for suicide attempts related to drug abuse.
To make the research comprehensive, the emergency room (ER) visits were classified as one related to suicide attempt through drug abuse as distinct from other cases of drug induced complications. For example, unintentional overdose of drugs was kept out. Those ER visits were included in the analysis in which they were the direct cause behind the problem or worked as a contributing factor. This was essential for the purpose of objectivity in the research findings.
Many high-profile deaths have been reported in the media where either injury or death has been due to suicide attempts, successful acts of suicides or accidental overdose. Since the lines can be blurred, it was important to demarcate each one as different from other for the purpose of the research.
The data has been collected from 2005 to 2009 reports of the Drug Abuse Warning Network. The head of SAMHSA, Pamela S. Hyde said that a lot has been learnt about preventing suicides but it continues to be a major cause of death among people who abuse alcohol and drugs. She further added that the misuse of prescription drugs is fuelling the problem.
Hyde called for greater awareness regarding the warning signs and risks of suicide with an emphasis on alcohol and drugs abuse.
She also elaborated on the warning signs indicative of increased risk for suicide and pointed out the following –
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