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Subst Abus. 2018;39(3):315-321. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2017.1389800. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Association between binge drug use and suicide attempt among people who inject drugs.

Author information

1
a Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM) Research Centre , Montreal , Quebec , Canada.
2
b Department of Psychiatry , Université de Montréal , Montréal , Québec , Canada.
3
c Sherbrooke University , Longueuil , Quebec , Canada.
4
d Department of Family and Emergency Medicine , Université de Montréal , Montréal , Québec , Canada ; Addiction Studies and Research Program , Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sherbrooke, University , Longueuil , Quebec , Canada.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

People who inject drugs (PWID) have an elevated risk of suicide attempt. Although different substances are associated with suicide attempt, the overall risk posed by binge behavior, a high-risk pattern of drug use, remains unclear. The objective of this study is to assess the association between binge drug use and suicide attempt in a prospective cohort of PWID in Montreal, Canada.

METHODS:

Participants answered a biannual interviewer-administered questionnaire compiling information on sociodemographics, pattern of substance use (cocaine, amphetamine, opioids, sedative-hypnotics, alcohol, and cannabis), and psychosocial stressors and related markers. The relationship between suicide attempt and binge behavior was modeled using generalized estimating equations (GEEs), controlling for type and pattern of substance use, sociodemographic characteristics, and significant mental health markers.

RESULTS:

Among 1240 participants (mean age ± SD: 38.2 ± 9.8) at baseline, 222 (17.9%) reported binge during the past 6-months. PWID reporting binge were significantly younger (P < .001), less educated (P = .012), less likely male (P = .047), and had shorter history of injection (P < .001). In addition, they were younger at first injection (P = .014), reported higher rates of prostitution and psychological disorders (P = .003), and were more likely to use other drugs except cannabis and alcohol. Binge was independently associated with attempted suicide in the GEE multivariate model (adjusted odds ratio [aOR 95% CI] = 1.91 [1.38-2.65], P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Among PWID at high risk of suicide attempt, those who binge represent a particularly vulnerable subgroup. Although the exact mechanisms underlying this finding remain unresolved, several hypothesis pertaining to the neurobiological and psychosocial consequences of binge, as well as common personality traits, warrant further investigations.

KEYWORDS:

Cocaine; binge; injection drug use; mental health; opioid; suicide

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