facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

Opioids Linked to Rising Suicide Rate

Suicide deaths now surpass road fatalities, and the availability of lethal Rx drugs plays a role.


21st century handgun Photo via

By Sarah Beller


| Share

Suicide rates have risen sharply in the Unites States in the past decade, and availability of opioid painkillers may be partly to blame, reports The New York Times. Suicide deaths now surpass deaths by car accidents, and the rise is especially pronounced among Americans ages 35 to 64, where the suicide rate jumped 30% between 1999 and 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The problem has typically been associated with teenagers and the elderly, so the surge among the middle-aged could point to a generation of baby boomers plagued by economic stress coupled with easy access to prescription painkillers. “There may be something about [baby boomers], and how they think about life issues and their life choices that may make a difference,” said the CDC’s deputy director, Ileana Arias. Although most suicides are still committed using firearms, officials report that poisoning deaths (which include intentional overdoses of prescription drugs) have risen 24% during the 10-year period (from 1999 to 2010). Experts attribute the rise in part to the widespread availability of opioid drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin, which can be particularly lethal in large doses. A 2011 SAMSA study showed a staggering rise in women attempting suicide with opioids. But while suicides are growing for both men and women, far more men take their own lives, at a rate of 27.3 deaths per 100,000 men, and 8.1 deaths per 100,000 women. And those numbers are thought to be an understatement, as many suicides are not reported.

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Big Brother, Where Art Thou?

I barely made it out of my troubled adolescence and I had resources; how can I help an underprivileged teen with everything stacked against him?

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious San Diego rehab has a program for you—if you can tear yourself away from “the most amazing massages ever."

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv