RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, NON-P.H.S.
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Suicide attempts and overdoses among adults entering addictions treatment: comparing correlates in a U.S. National Study.

BACKGROUND: Suicide attempts and non-fatal overdoses are both associated with substance use. The aim of the present study was to examine correlates of suicide attempts and non-fatal overdoses simultaneously among individuals seeking addictions treatment.

METHODS: A large U.S. national sample of individuals entering addictions treatment participated in a cross-sectional survey (n=5892). Multinomial logistic regression modeling tested the adjusted associations of violence, injection drug use, specific substances, and depressive symptoms with a four-category outcome variable based on prior histories of suicide attempt and non-fatal overdose (neither, suicide attempt only, overdose only, both), adjusting for demographic and treatment characteristics.

RESULTS: Sexual and physical victimization was associated with suicide attempts with or without overdoses (ORs 1.25-2.84), while perpetrating violence was associated with having experienced either or both outcomes (ORs 1.25-1.56). Depressive symptoms had a stronger association with suicide attempts (OR=3.05) than overdoses (OR=1.29). Injection drug use was associated with overdoses with or without suicide attempts (ORs 2.65-3.22). Individuals seeking treatment for marijuana use were less likely have overdosed or attempted suicide (ORs 0.39-0.67), while individuals seeking treatment for heroin use were more likely to have overdosed (OR=1.46). Seeking treatment for use of more than one substance was associated with overdose and overdose and suicide attempt (ORs 1.58-2.51), but not suicide attempt alone.

CONCLUSIONS: The present findings indicate that suicide and overdose are connected yet distinct problems. Individuals who have had a history of both may be a group with particularly poor psychological functioning as well as more severe drug-related problems.

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