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Research at MSU looks at connection between overdose and suicide

Dennis Jarvis

Research out of Michigan State University will look at a possible link between opioid overdose and suicide.

The research was recently granted one million dollars from the National Institution of Mental Health. That money is in addition to their current study looking at reducing suicide in people recently released from jail.

Dr. Jennifer Johnson is a researcher on the study. She said in monitoring subjects with a risk of suicide they began to see a trend.

“Overdose is probably if I had to guess our number one method that we’re seeing in our sample for people who are thinking about or attempting suicide.”

Johnson said as many as 20-percent of overdoses could be attempted suicides. But, she said, health care providers aren’t talking to overdose patients about whether they were attempting suicide.

“But the folks we were talking to often weren’t getting any treatment or if they went into the emergency department the provider didn’t ask and the person didn’t say often that it wasn’t entirely an accidental overdose.”

She said overdose could be used as a warning sign to get people connected with supports to help them with suicidal thoughts.