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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Prescription Drug Overdose Suicides

Prescription drug
related suicides are on the rise according to a new study, which found a 55 percent jump in emergency room visits for drug-related suicide attempts in men ages 21 to 34 between 2005 and 2009. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was responsible for the study, finding suicide attempts involving antidepressants rose by 155 percent and suicides involving anti-anxiety and insomnia medications increased by a staggering 93 percent.

“I think a lot of these people don’t see these drugs as dangerous because it’s a nice, clean little pill,” Peter Delany, Director of the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality at SAMHSA, told USA Today. This is the case for many Americans who take prescription non-narcotics; they simply don't realize the potential for suicidal thoughts when taking psychotropic drugs. Emergency room visits for suicide attempts among males aged 35 to 49 involving narcotic pain relievers almost doubled from 2005 to 2009, and rose almost triple among men 50 and older, according to the new study.

In 2009:
  • 77,971 emergency room visits for drug-related suicide attempts among males of all ages
  • 29,407 such visits by men ages 21 to 34
“While we have learned much about how to prevent suicide, it continues to be a leading cause of death among people who abuse alcohol and drugs,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., said in a news release. “The misuse of prescription drugs is clearly helping to fuel the problem. Greater awareness about the warning signs and risk factors for suicide, including abuse of alcohol and drugs, can help people take action and save lives.”

The most important thing someone can do when being prescribed drugs that have the potential for suicidal thoughts is to have an open direct line of communication with your physician. If suicidal thoughts arise, the doctor will have time to adjust your medication, hopefully finding something better suited for your brain chemistry. The worst thing anyone can do is ignore such thoughts.

1 comment:

  1. A few years ago, narcotics were only prescribed after surgery, severe trauma, or for terminal cancer because of a concern over the possibility of addiction. Recently, they have been cautiously prescribed to treat moderate to severe non-malignant chronic pain in conjunction with other modalities such as physical therapy, cortisone and trigger point injections, muscle stretching, meditation, or aqua therapy. Unfortunately, the upsurge of narcotics as medical treatment also increased associated cases of abuse and addiction.


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