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Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2018 Feb 14. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12442. [Epub ahead of print]

Completed Suicide Among Methamphetamine Users: A National Study.

Author information

1
National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
2
Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network, NSW Health, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
3
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
4
School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Abstract

All Australian cases of methamphetamine-related suicide (2009-2015) retrieved from the National Coronial Information System were examined to determine crude mortality rates, characteristics and circumstances of death, and blood toxicology. There were 300 cases, 18.2% of all methamphetamine-related deaths, and 1.6% of all completed suicides. The mean age was 33.1 years, and 77.0% were male. The crude mortality rate was 1.9 per 106 , with males having a significantly higher rate than females (2.9 vs. 0.9 per 106 ). A quarter were known to have previous suicide attempts, and a history of psychosis was noted in 12.3%. In 40.7% of cases, witnesses described the decedent as having been agitated and/or aggressive immediately prior to the incident. The vast majority (85.3%), and of both sexes (males 87.0%, females 79.7%), used violent methods. Hanging (70.3%) was overwhelmingly the most frequent method among both males (70.1%) and females (71.0%). Prescription medications were frequently present: hypnosedatives (23.6%), antidepressants (19.5%), and antipsychotics (8.4%). Self-poisoning cases were significantly more likely to have antidepressants (odds ratio: 4.2) and opioids (4.9) present, but less likely to have cannabis (0.3). Methamphetamine-related suicide makes a large contribution to methamphetamine-related death and represents a substantial clinical and public health problem.

PMID:
29444345
DOI:
10.1111/sltb.12442

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