Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides

Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides – WebMD – By Amy Norton – April 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) 

Having had a taste of what my pain is like without opioids for a few months, I can understand this situation only too well.

Facing the uncertainty after being threatened with reduced and insufficient, prescribing (or none at all), I wonder if some patients use their last opioid prescription to kill themselves.

As the United States grapples with an ongoing opioid epidemic, experts are calling attention to a hidden aspect of the crisis: Many overdose deaths may, in fact, be suicides.

The researchers describe suicide as a “silent contributor” to the nation’s opioid overdose death rate.  

It’s hard to know exactly how many Americans have intentionally overdosed on opioids in recent years, said report author Dr. Maria Oquendo, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. The analysis of the issue is published April 26 in the New England Journal of Medicine

Unless there’s a suicide note, or documented history of depression, it may be impossible to establish a drug overdose as a suicide.

“If you’re a coroner, it’s not easy to discern intent,” explained Jerry Reed, executive committee member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, in Washington, D.C.

However, he said, it’s known that both suicides and opioid overdose deaths have been rising.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the national suicide rate rose by 24 percent between 1999 and 2014 — from 10.5 deaths per 100,000 people, to 13 per 100,000.

By 2015, there were 2.5 Times more Suicides than Opioid Overdoses, but no one is paying attention to those lives lost.

Recent research has found a leveling off in Americans’ abuse of prescription opioid painkillers — like Vicodin, OxyContin and codeine.

How can these drugs still be available on the black market at all, when pain patients cannot even get their ongoing prescriptions filled?

But abuse of illegal opioids, like heroin, is also rising.

Last year, a U.S government study highlighted the impact that heroin alone is having: Between 2002 and 2016, deaths from the drug soared by 533 percent nationwide — from just under 2,100 deaths to more than 13,200.

But some research suggests opioids are behind a growing number of suicides, at least based on deaths that are officially classified as such. One study found that the proportion of U.S. suicides that were attributed to opioid overdose rose from 2.2 percent in 1999 to 4.3 percent in 2014

It’s vital to understand how often people with opioid abuse problems are suicidal, Oquendo said.

What about people with pain problems for which they can no longer receive effective therapy? These folks live with crippling pain every day and have only more to look forward to for the rest of their life: that’s why it’s medically called “intractable pain”.

Some people talk as though only addiction could make someone suicidal and never pain. What planet are these people living on?

Reed agreed. “If you treat it only as an opioid problem, you won’t address the underlying issues.”

Still no mention of the underlying pain. Is it so difficult to believe that people don’t realize there might be a legitimate reason that some of us take opioids.

People get hooked on opioids through different routes.

Some start with a legitimate prescription for pain relief, then spiral into abuse.

Some, but not many.

Some use the drugs illegally from the start.

These are the most common. Even if they start out with prescription pills, those pills are not prescribed to them.

Similarly, he said, people who are suicidal do not want to die, but want to end their pain.

This one really rings true for me.

I keep wanting out of this painful body, but I don’t really want to die either. They say depression is anger against the self.

Yeah, I’m pretty angry.

Original article: Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides

1 thought on “Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides

  1. Pingback: Suicidality in chronic pain | EDS and Chronic Pain News & Info

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