Many of the factors that increase the risk for substance abuse, such as traumatic experiences, also increase the risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and substance abuse, like mental health problems, is linked with a several-fold increase in suicide risk.
Drug poisoning deaths have increased 120 percent in recent years – from 17,415 in 2000 to 38,329 in 2010. The majority (58 percent) of the drug deaths involved pharmaceuticals, and 75 percent of those deaths involved prescription pain relievers. In 2010, U.S. emergency departments treated 202,000 suicide attempts in which prescription drugs were used as the means, 33,000 of which were narcotic pain relievers.
In a blog written by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, substance abuse providers are urged to align efforts with those in suicide prevention to promote health individuals and health communities.