It’s a midlife crisis of a different sort: “Deaths of despair” — due to drugs, alcohol and suicide — are largely responsible for rising mortality rates among middle-age white Americans. And a new analysis by Princeton economists delves into what they believe is behind this trend.
“It’s not just … the baby boomers,” said Case. “It really has spread into Gen X, as well.” Continue reading
With all this attention being given to opioids, we are overlooking another silent killer that’s responsible for even more deaths: suicide.
In 2015, nearly 45,000 Americans took their own lives. Why aren’t we talking about this, and where’s the national public health campaign to start driving these numbers down?
Suicide rates in this country are on the rise, having recently hit a 30-year high. Continue reading
Rural America is facing an existential crisis. As cities continue to grow and prosper, small towns are shrinking.
The trend is clear: Rural America is literally fading away. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that the opioid overdose epidemic has hit rural states, like Kentucky and West Virginia, especially hard. And the latest research from the CDC also shouldn’t come as a surprise: Suicides in rural America (labeled as non-core) have increased over 40% in 16 years.
From 1999 to 2015, suicide rates increased everywhere in America. On average, across the U.S., suicides increased from 12.2 per 100,000 to 15.7 per 100,000, an increase of just under 30%.
However, in rural America, the suicide rate surged over 40%, from just over 15 per 100,000 to roughly 22 per 100,000. Similarly, the suicide rate in micropolitan areas (defined as having a population between 10,000-49,999) went from 14 per 100,000 to 19 per 100,000, an increase of around 35%.
On the flip side, major cities saw much smaller increases in suicide rates, on the order of 10%.
The graph depicts a clear pattern: Suicide rates are highest in the most rural parts of the country, and they slowly decrease as urbanization increases.
What explains the difference?
The CDC suggests lack of proper mental healthcare, social isolation, the opioid crisis, and lingering effects of the Great Recession, all of which hit rural areas hardest. It appears fixing the suicide epidemic will require addressing very large societal trends and cultural problems.
Suicide rates are rising everywhere in this country and the opioid pain relief restrictions will undoubtedly lead to more.
Suicide is a major public health concern that causes immeasurable pain and suffering to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall and the second leading cause among Americans aged 10-44 years.
In 2014, the suicide rate reached a 30-year high, accounting for nearly 43,000 deaths.
Suicide is preventable, however. Suicidal thoughts or actions are signs of extreme distress and require intervention.
If this is true, then many chronic pain patients are in “extreme distress” since the government decided to decrease access to effective pain relief in order to stop heroin overdoses. (Clearly not a logically reasoned policy) Continue reading
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that death by suicide has now exceeded death by motor vehicle accidents for U.S. children aged 10-14 years for the first time in history
The suicide rate in the U.S. has been gradually rising over the past 15 years. Over 40,000 individuals died by suicide in 2014.
About half of all suicide victims were seen in healthcare settings within the preceding 30 days.
This would seem to imply that healthcare settings may encourage suicide. This makes a lot of sense if people in pain are left without relief. Continue reading
A record-breaking 28,000 Americans died of opioid overdoses in 2014.
The truth is that many of those deaths are completely preventable and result not from painkillers, but from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s war on painkillers.
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that half of all troops who return from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from chronic pain.
Forcing Users into the Black Market
I would not assume that many patients are trying to find pain pills in the streets because many patients, like me, do not know where to get “street drugs”.
Opioid Pain Meds Rarely Involved in Suicide Attempts – December 05, 2016 – By Pat Anson, Editor
Opioid pain medication is involved in less than 5 percent of the attempted suicides in the United States, according to a large new study of emergency room visits.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine studied a national database of more than one billion emergency department visits from 2006 to 2013, and found that antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs were far more likely to be used in an attempted suicide than opioid medication.
Software developer Pieter Hintjens has been diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 53.
He will be opting to end his own suffering through euthanasia, which has been legal in Belgium since 2002. He has three children, aged twelve, nine and five.
The VSED Exit: A Way to Speed Up Dying, Without Asking Permission – The New York Times – By Paula Span 10/21/2016
Ms. Greenfield was struggling. She had been her husband’s caregiver until he died that year at 97, never telling her family she was feeling miserable herself.
When she fell and broke an arm, “that was the final straw,” her daughter said. “She was a real doer, and she couldn’t function the way she wanted to. Life wasn’t joyful anymore.”
At 91, Ms. Greenfield told her family she was ready to die. She wanted a prescription for lethal drugs, and because she had active cancer, she might have obtained one under Oregon’s Death with Dignity statute for people with terminal illnesses. Continue reading
Coincidentally, September is both “Pain Awareness Month” and “Suicide Prevention Month”.
Judging from all the articles I’ve found discussing the link between pain and suicide, the juxtaposition of these two awareness campaigns is a fortuitous coincidence, a chance to raise awareness of the potentially deadly consequences of poor pain control.
Perhaps it can start some necessary conversations about how the withdrawal of opioid pain management could exacerbate suicidal impulses. Continue reading
I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering what kind of a limited life I could lead without opioids to control my pain. I’ve tried all kind of other treatments over the years only to find them all mostly useless, so opioids are the last resort.
If my only effective pain relief is taken away I’m afraid my life would no longer be tolerable or worthwhile. My husband and friends share this concern because they are witnesses to how pain has ravaged by life, how much I’ve lost to it, and how it has even changed who I am.
Here are a few of my favorites from the article and my own reasons: Continue reading