New Data on Trends in ER Visits for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts
A meeting of the National Action Alliance on Suicide Prevention on February 9 coincided with the release of recent findings from a SAMHSA study on monthly and seasonal trends in drug-related suicide attempts.
The study, Monthly and Seasonal Variation in Emergency Department Visits for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts: 2004 to 2008, is an effort to inform policy makers and service providers on the nature and scope of suicide attempts.
The Action Alliance is a public/private partnership (including SAMHSA) to update and advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The goal is to enhance efforts to address what has become the foremost, preventable public health tragedy in our Nation—suicide. One of the meeting’s specific goals is to more effectively deliver messages to high-risk groups.
In its examination of monthly and seasonal trends in the number of emergency department visits involving drug-related suicide attempts, the study revealed considerable fluctuations.
The study found that from 2004 to 2008, on average, each year emergency departments dealt with 178,423 visits for drug-related suicide attempts by patients 12 or older. Overall the number of visits reported by emergency departments ranged from 12,656 in February (7.1 percent) to 16,812 visits in September (9.4 percent).
- Among adolescent males, only 2.5 percent of drug-related, suicide-attempt emergency room visits by males age 12 to 17 occur in February as opposed to 18.9 percent reported in December.
- Among men age 50 and older, December marked the highest level of emergency department drug-related suicide attempt visits (12.9 percent). The lowest level of visits for males in this age group was in October (5.5 percent).
The report is part of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Data, Outcomes, and Quality and is based on SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report. A copy of the study is available on the SAMHSA website.
Source: SAMHSA Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (February 9, 2011). The DAWN Report: Monthly and Seasonal Variation in Emergency Department Visits for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts: 2004 to 2008. Figure 2. Rockville, MD.