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U.S. Hospitals See Big Rise in Drug-Related Suicide Attempts
Date:8/7/2014

By
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Drug-related suicide attempts in the United States increased over a recent six-year period, with dramatic increases seen among young and middle-aged adults, health officials reported Thursday.

Overall, suicide attempts involving prescription medications and other drugs jumped by 51 percent among people 12 and older between 2005 and 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

In two reports, the agency examines trends in ER visits for drug-related suicide attempts. The most significant increases occurred among adults younger than 30 -- up 58 percent over the six years studied -- and people between 45 and 64, who experienced a 104 percent spike in drug-related suicide attempts.

"We probably are seeing an increase in overall suicide attempts, and along with that we are also seeing an increase in drug-related suicide attempts," said Peter Delany, director of the agency's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.

"People have access to medications, and they are using both prescription and over-the-counter meds," he said. "It is clear that there are more drugs out there."

Dr. Sampson Davis, an emergency room physician at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, N.J., agreed. "What we are seeing are the ramifications of the overuse of prescription drugs," he said.

Davis added that the combination of these drugs and alcohol can be lethal.

"Patients who are taking [the painkiller] oxycodone and chasing it with a glass of wine only increase the chances of overdose," he said.

By 2011, young and middle-aged people accounted for about 60 percent of all drug-related suicide attempts seen in emergency rooms, the researchers
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