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Injected Methamphetamine Use Linked to Increased Risk of Suicide Attempts

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People who inject methamphetamine are 80 percent more likely to attempt suicide compared with those who inject other drugs, a new study has found.

“Compared to other injection drug users, it is possible that methamphetamine users are more isolated and have poorer social support systems,” study author Brandon Marshall said in a news release from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

The researchers used data from interviews of almost 1,900 adults who injected drugs, HealthDay reports. The study was conducted in Vancouver, British Columbia, over seven years, in an area well known for illegal drug use. Overall, eight percent had previously attempted suicide. Meth injection was associated with a greater risk for suicide attempts, even among those who used meth infrequently. Frequent meth injections were associated with the highest risk of attempting suicide.

The findings appear in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

“The high rate of attempted suicide observed in this study suggests that suicide prevention efforts should be an integral part of substance abuse treatment programs,” Marshall said. “In addition, people who inject methamphetamine but are not in treatment would likely benefit from improved suicide risk assessment and other mental health support services within health care settings.”

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