In order to help prevent the sudden loss of life, researchers at Brown University conducted a study to better predict what causes people to attempt or commit suicide. They found that there is a direct correlation between drug use and suicide.
Researchers conducted the study by polling several hospitals between 2010 and 2012. After receiving data from 800 Emergency Room admissions, it was determined that while alcohol use and cocaine use alone did not substantially increase the risk for suicide, the combination of alcohol and cocaine greatly increased the chance of suicide. This important discovery will hopefully lead to more effective interventions to prevent future alcohol and cocaine induced suicide attempts.
So, why does the combination of alcohol and cocaine cause people to feel that suicide is an option? Researchers of the study point out that both drugs are responsible for extreme highs that lower a person’s ability to reason with current stressors, leading some to believe that suicide is the only way out. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant, while cocaine is a stimulant. When a person who has consumed alcohol becomes distraught over situations in their life and then they add cocaine into the mix they may feel more courage to go through with suicide. This risk is yet another reason why friends and family members need to consider moving forward with an intervention.
In addition to figuring out the link between dual use of cocaine and alcohol, researchers were also encouraged to find that screening in hospitals were able to lead to this conclusion. “Before the study, it was unclear if it was even feasible to get staff to complete suicide risk screening on all patients and, if you did, whether it would actually result in identifying people who were at risk,” explained Edwin Boudreaux.
Researchers are hopeful that further screening measures will be implemented in hospitals throughout the country, specifically in the Emergency Room. Oftentimes ER doctors are the first people to witness potential suicide indicators. Spotting a person who regularly abuses cocaine and alcohol may help guide medical professionals into taking action before suicide is attempted. Researchers also caution that other factors need to be considered as well, sex and race are other areas that need to be investigated in order to come up with a comprehensive suicide prevention and intervention plan.