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UIC: New Research Examines Suicide Risks Among Drug Users

Over the past two decades, suicide rates and opioid usage have increased concurrently in the United States.  Among those who use injection drugs and opioids, suicide rates are higher than the general population.  University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health’s Dr. Mary Ellen Mackesy-Amiti, research associate professor with the Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP), is leading a new study exploring what may be driving suicide risk in this vulnerable population.

Her study, “Addressing Suicidal Risk in Harm Reduction Services for People Who Inject Drugs,” earned seed funding for the 2019-20 academic year from the School of Public Health Office of Research Services.  The project will gather qualitative data from people who use injection drugs and have experienced suicidal thoughts or behavior over the past year.

“We know people who inject have a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but we don’t really have in-depth information about their experiences,” Dr. Mackesy-Amiti said. “We’re seeing [rising suicide rates and opioid usage rates] happen at the same time, and the feeling is that it’s not coincidental.”

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