Emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts rise over six year period

August 11th, 2014
Two new reports highlight the rise in drug-related suicide attempt visits to hospital emergency departments especially among certain age groups. The reports by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) show that overall there was a 51 percent increase for these types of visits among people 12 and older — from 151,477 visits in 2005 to 228,277 visits in 2011.

One report analyzed the increase in emergency department visits by age and found that the overall rise resulted from increases in visits by people aged 18 to 29 and people aged 45 to 64.  Visits involving 18 to 29 year olds increased from 47,312 in 2005 to 75,068 — a 58 percent increase. Visits involving people aged 45 to 64 increased from 28,802 in 2005 to 58,776 visits in 2011 — a 104 percent increase. In 2011, these two age groups comprised approximately 60 percent of all drug-related emergency department visits involving suicide attempts.

The other SAMHSA report focused on the 45 to 64 age group, which had the largest increase in emergency department visits involving drug related suicide attempts, and characterized these visits. The report found that the majority (96 percent in 2011) of these visits involved the non-medical use of prescription drugs and over-the-counter-medications. In 2011, these drugs included anti-anxiety and insomnia medications (48 percent), pain relievers (29 percent) and antidepressants (22 percent).

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Posted in SBIRT


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