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Characteristics of self-inflicted drug overdose deaths in North Carolina.
Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 12 01; 181:44-49.DA

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Drug overdose mortality is a major public health concern in the United States, with prescription opioids contributing substantially to recent increases in drug overdose deaths. Compared to unintentional drug overdose deaths, relatively little data describes intentional self-inflicted drug overdose deaths (i.e., suicide by drug overdose). The aim of this study was to examine the characteristics of self-inflicted drug overdose deaths, overall and in comparison to unintentional drug overdose deaths.

METHODS

We linked vital statistics, prescription drug monitoring program, and toxicology data for self-inflicted and unintentional drug overdose deaths among North Carolina residents in 2012.

RESULTS

Most self-inflicted (79.2%) and unintentional (75.6%) drug overdose decedents had a prescription for a controlled substance within one year of death. Toxicology results revealed that antidepressants contributed to a significantly higher percent of self-inflicted compared to unintentional drug overdose deaths (45.0% vs. 8.1%). Among deaths in which commonly prescribed opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone) or benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clonazepam) contributed to death, a significantly higher percent of self-inflicted drug overdose decedents had a prescription for the substance within 30days of death compared to unintentional drug overdose decedents.

CONCLUSIONS

The results highlight the use of prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants among self-inflicted drug overdose decedents. Importantly, the results indicate that self-inflicted drug overdose decedents were more likely than unintentional drug overdose decedents to have potential contact with the health care system in the weeks preceding death, offering an opportunity for professionals to identify and intervene on risk factors or signs of distress and potential for self-harm.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Maternal and Child Health and Injury Prevention Research Center, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, United States. Electronic address: anna.austin@unc.edu.Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, Chronic Disease and Injury Section, Division of Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, United States.Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, United States.Drug Control Unit, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, United States.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

29032024

Citation

Austin, Anna E., et al. "Characteristics of Self-inflicted Drug Overdose Deaths in North Carolina." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 181, 2017, pp. 44-49.
Austin AE, Proescholdbell SK, Creppage KE, et al. Characteristics of self-inflicted drug overdose deaths in North Carolina. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017;181:44-49.
Austin, A. E., Proescholdbell, S. K., Creppage, K. E., & Asbun, A. (2017). Characteristics of self-inflicted drug overdose deaths in North Carolina. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 181, 44-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.014
Austin AE, et al. Characteristics of Self-inflicted Drug Overdose Deaths in North Carolina. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 12 1;181:44-49. PubMed PMID: 29032024.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Characteristics of self-inflicted drug overdose deaths in North Carolina. AU - Austin,Anna E, AU - Proescholdbell,Scott K, AU - Creppage,Kathleen E, AU - Asbun,Alex, Y1 - 2017/10/10/ PY - 2017/08/01/received PY - 2017/09/08/revised PY - 2017/09/08/accepted PY - 2017/10/17/pubmed PY - 2018/5/19/medline PY - 2017/10/17/entrez KW - Benzodiazepine KW - Opioid KW - Prescription drug KW - Self-inflicted drug overdose KW - Suicide SP - 44 EP - 49 JF - Drug and alcohol dependence JO - Drug Alcohol Depend VL - 181 N2 - BACKGROUND: Drug overdose mortality is a major public health concern in the United States, with prescription opioids contributing substantially to recent increases in drug overdose deaths. Compared to unintentional drug overdose deaths, relatively little data describes intentional self-inflicted drug overdose deaths (i.e., suicide by drug overdose). The aim of this study was to examine the characteristics of self-inflicted drug overdose deaths, overall and in comparison to unintentional drug overdose deaths. METHODS: We linked vital statistics, prescription drug monitoring program, and toxicology data for self-inflicted and unintentional drug overdose deaths among North Carolina residents in 2012. RESULTS: Most self-inflicted (79.2%) and unintentional (75.6%) drug overdose decedents had a prescription for a controlled substance within one year of death. Toxicology results revealed that antidepressants contributed to a significantly higher percent of self-inflicted compared to unintentional drug overdose deaths (45.0% vs. 8.1%). Among deaths in which commonly prescribed opioids (oxycodone, hydrocodone) or benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clonazepam) contributed to death, a significantly higher percent of self-inflicted drug overdose decedents had a prescription for the substance within 30days of death compared to unintentional drug overdose decedents. CONCLUSIONS: The results highlight the use of prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, and antidepressants among self-inflicted drug overdose decedents. Importantly, the results indicate that self-inflicted drug overdose decedents were more likely than unintentional drug overdose decedents to have potential contact with the health care system in the weeks preceding death, offering an opportunity for professionals to identify and intervene on risk factors or signs of distress and potential for self-harm. SN - 1879-0046 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/29032024/Characteristics_of_self_inflicted_drug_overdose_deaths_in_North_Carolina_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0376-8716(17)30496-9 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -