Stimulants use such as cocaine and amphetamine are associated with suicidal behavior among people who inject drugs, researchers at the University of Montreal and CHUM Research Centre say. Addiction has already been identified as a major risk factor for suicide, it is a ten percent fact among drug users.
Researchers explored the relationship between substance abuse and risk of suicidal behavior by studying in detail the different types of substances used among more than 1,200 IV drug users.
"We know that substance use is associated with the risk of suicide attempt and completed suicide. However, there are many different profiles of drug users. The data available until recently did not allow identifying the substance use patterns most at risk. We wanted to know who among substance users were actually more likely to attempt suicide," said Didier Jutras-Aswad, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montréal and researcher at the CHUM Research Centre.
Their findings indicate that suicide attempts are most common among PWIDs. At the beginning of the study, nearly 6% of participants had indeed reported a suicide attempt in the previous six months, a dramatically higher rate than the general population. During follow-up, 143 participants experienced at least one episode of attempted suicide. The researchers found that chronic and occasional use of stimulant drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines was associated with nearly two-fold greater odds of reporting an attempt than the use of other drugs to report a suicide attempt. Surprisingly, however, they did not observe the same positive association with other substances, including opiates, which are nevertheless regarded as among the most damaging to health and psycho-social well being.