Suicide: A Silent Contributor to Opioid-Overdose Deaths | NEJM

Not all opioid overdoses are accidental. But how common a method of suicide is prescribed opioid pain medication? And what is the likelihood that suicides by opioid go unreported?

“Perhaps of most relevance, 2006–2011 data from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample that include information on more than 250,000 emergency department visits by adults for opiate overdose show that only 54% of the overdoses were classified as “unintentional”: 26.5% were deemed intentional, and 20.0% were “undetermined.” The data also document a steady annual increase in opiate-overdose visits to emergency departments. Together, these data suggest that the true proportion of suicides among opioid-overdose deaths is somewhere between 20% and 30%, but it could be even higher.”

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1801417

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