"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 at the University of Montreal and researcher at the CHUM Research Centre.

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 wellbeing.

Drug addiction had already been identified as a major risk factor for suicide and it is, in fact, the cause of 10 percent of deaths among drug users. The data from this groundbreaking study could help develop and evaluate more appropriate suicide prevention efforts in this highly vulnerable population, researchers concluded. The research appeared in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

 

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