Suicides and Opioids

February 6, 2020

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Anchor lead: How many opioid overdoses may actually be
suicides? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Opioid overdose deaths may actually be suicides in a
sizeable number of cases, a recent study projects. Eric Strain, a drug
addiction expert at Johns Hopkins, says a look at changing social factors for
at risk groups is revealing.

Strain: What’s really striking is that if you look at other
developed countries over the last ten years mortality rates have been going
down, but in the US, especially for white men, mortality rates have plateaued
or even gone up slightly. Why is this demographic group more vulnerable to
using opioids and to dying from opioids? These are the populations that we’ve
seen decreases in employment for, less social capital, less community
engagement.  :30

CDC data show that the US suicide rate is twice that of the
UK, and that the slight decrease in the number of fatal overdoses, which stood
at more than 67,000 in 2018, compared to more than 70,000 in 2017, may not
continue as numbers are tabulated for 2019. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth
Tracey.

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