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U.S. deaths by suicide, alcohol and drugs are on the rise


Orawan Pattarawimonchai / Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 03/05/19

Instances of people taking their lives was double the average annual pace over previous decade

Deaths in the United States due to suicide, alcohol and drug abuse are up. The number of deaths in those three categories in 2017 hit the highest level since federal data collection started in 1999, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by two public health nonprofits.

“The national rate for deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide rose from 43.9 to 46.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, a 6 percent increase, the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust reported Tuesday,” said USA Today. “Deaths from suicides rose from 13.9 to 14.5 deaths per 100,000, a 4 percent increase. That was double the average annual pace over the previous decade.”

Some methods for suicide that rose in frequency include suicide by suffocation, which jumped by 42 percent from 2008 to 2017, and by firearm, which increased 22 percent in that time.

In most states, deaths from alcohol, drugs and suicides increased in 2017, the study found. Deaths from synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, rose 45 percent. “Such deaths have increased tenfold in the last five years,” USA Today summarized.

Suicides and suicide attempts among the young are particularly concerning. Suicide and depression rates among Ohio teenagers have been climbing in recent years and has led to a local push for more children’s mental health services and early interventions to help children, reported the Dayton Daily News. From 2007 to 2017, Health Policy Institute of Ohio found that suicide deaths have increased more than two-fold among children ages 8 to 17 (35 deaths to 80 deaths) and by nearly 1.5 times for ages 18-25 (155 to 225 deaths). The youngest suicide victim from 2007 to 2017 was age 8.

“In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Ohio children age 1-17, surpassing homicides and cancer, according to the Ohio Department of Health,” the Daily News said.

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