Past studies found that motivation for suicide may contribute to opioid overdose deaths in people with opioid use disorder (OUD).
In 2019, a research team at McLean Hospital found suicidal motivations are common just prior to nonfatal opioid overdose and occur along a continuum of severity.
Hilary S. Connery, MD, PhD, clinical director of McLean’s Division of Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction, R. Kathryn McHugh, PhD, McLean’s chief of psychology and director of the Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Use Laboratory, and colleagues recently replicated and extended those findings in a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
The study setting was an inpatient unit at McLean for managing withdrawal from substance use.
Between June 2017 and March 2020, the researchers identified 60 adults who reported a history of opioid overdose and consented to complete self-report measures about their history of opioid use and overdoses, beliefs about the likelihood of overdose, and thoughts about death from overdose.
The mean number of overdoses was 4.5. The most recent overdose occurred within the past year for 48% of patients and within the past month for 20%.