Significant associations seen for suicide deaths with opioid prescriptions per capita, having any, high-dose, long-term opioid prescription
By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, April 11, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Suicide deaths are positively associated with measures of opioid prescribing, according to a study published online April 11 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Mark Olfson, M.D., M.P.H., from the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues examined the associations of regional change in opioid prescribing with total suicide deaths and suicide overdose deaths involving opioids using U.S. national IQVIA Longitudinal Prescription Database data and National Center for Health Statistics mortality data.
The researchers observed significant positive associations between suicide deaths and opioid prescriptions per capita, having any opioid prescription, having high-dose prescriptions, having long-term prescriptions, and having three or more opioid prescribers (Î² = 0.045, 0.069, 0.024, 0.028, and 0.046, respectively). For each of the five opioid prescription measures, similar significant associations were observed for suicide overdose deaths involving opioids (Î² range, 0.029 to 0.042). For people aged 10 to 24 and 25 to 44 years, opioid prescriptions per capita, having any opioid prescription, and having three or more opioid prescribers were negatively associated with unintentional opioid-related deaths.
“Although the present population-level research cannot establish that opioid prescriptions cause deaths by suicide, the results are consistent with the view that opioid prescription policies and practices should give careful attention to possible connections between prescription opioids and suicide risk,” Olfson said in a statement.
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