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Meth injecters have higher suicide rate

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The consequences injecting methamphetamine are well known. To date, however, there has been little research about the association of methamphetamine use and suicidal behavior. Recently, researchers at Columbia Univeristy’s Mailman School of public Health and the University of British Columbia fund that drug users who inject the speed had an 80% higher risk of attempting suicide than users who inject other drugs.

The causal relationship is not clear and will require more study. Still, authors suggest that it likely involves a combination of neurobiological, social and structural mechanisms.

“Compared to other injection drug users, it is possible that methamphetamine users are more isolated and have poorer social support systems,” said lead author Brandon marshall, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the Mailman School of Public Health and research coordinator for the Urban Health Research Initiative in British Colombia. “The high rate of attempted suicide observed in this study suggests that suicide prevention efforts should be an integral part of substance abuse treatment programs,” said Dr. Marshall. “In addition, people who inject methamphetamine but are not in treatment would likely benefit from improved suicide risk assessment and other mental health support services within health care settings.”

Participation in the study was through word of mouth, street outreach and referrals. Researchers evaluated 1,873 drug users whose median age was 31. They maintained an even mix of gender and racial background. A total of 8% of participants reported a suicide attempt.

“This is one of North America’s largest cohorts of injection drug users, and the research is among the first longitudinal studies to examine attempts of suicide by injection drug users,” concluded Dr. Marshall.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Drug and Alcohol Dependence

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