Prevalence and Correlates of Opioid-Involved Suicides in Maryland

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Abstract

Objective: Involvement of opioids in suicides has doubled during the past two decades, worsening a major public health concern. This study examined the characteristics of opioid-involved suicides. Methods: The sample of decedents (N = 12,038) in Maryland between 2006 and 2020 was used to compare the characteristics of opioid-involved suicides (n = 947) with suicides not involving opioids (n = 6,896) and accidental opioid deaths (n = 4,125). Direct comparisons were then made between opioid-involved suicides with and without the additional presence of non-opioid substances. Results: Opioid-involved suicides were significantly more likely than suicides not involving opioids to occur among those aged 18–64 years, non-Hispanic Whites, and unemployed or disabled individuals. Opioid-involved suicides were more likely than accidental opioid deaths to occur among females, those aged <18 years, non-Hispanic Whites, and employed individuals. Of all suicides involved opioids, 45% involved other non-opioid substances. Polysubstance opioid suicides were significantly more likely than suicides involving opioids only to occur among non-Hispanic Whites. Conclusions: Significant differences were observed in the demographic groups most at risk for opioid-involved suicide than other suicide or accidental opioid death. Among opioid-involved suicides, polysubstance involvement also represents a distinct group. These findings may enhance the targeting of prevention efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-673
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Suicide Research
Volume28
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Maryland
  • opioid
  • polysubstance
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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