According to the US Library of Medicine, crystal meth addicts who use needles – also known as intravenous drug users (IDUs) – to inject the drug are 80 percent more likely to attempt to kill themselves than those who are addicted to or abuse other drugs. There are a number of reasons why this may be true, including the devastating depression that many crystal meth addicts in recovery report experiencing after the drug wears off. However, the true reason is likely more complex than that, according to the researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada who published their work in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
Why Are Crystal Meth IDUs More Likely to Try Suicide?
Brandon Marshall is the study author and a Mailman postdoctoral fellow. He says that the reasons for the increase in suicide attempts among IDU crystal meth users are caused by factors that are social, neurobiological and structural: “Compared to other injection drug users, it is possible that methamphetamine users are more isolated and have poorer social support systems.”
Without friends and family who care about them, people to step in and lift them up when they go through the depression that follows a crystal meth binge, perhaps they sink deeper than others who have more support.
Demonstrating that the higher rate of suicide attempts among injection drug users exists is a huge first step, but much more research is necessary to find out why this is so. It did find, however, that length of time actively abusing drugs via needles did not matter; even those who only occasionally abused drugs intravenously had a higher rate of attempting suicide, though the more frequent intravenous drug user had the highest risk of all.
Mitigating the Risk of Suicide in Treatment
Since no one knows for sure why the rate of suicide attempts is higher among crystal meth intravenous drug users, the only way to change these numbers is to address the issue of depression and addiction during treatment.
Says Marshall: “The high rate of attempted suicide observed in this study suggests that suicide prevention efforts should be an integral part of substance abuse treatment programs. In addition, people who inject methamphetamine but are not in treatment would likely benefit from improved suicide risk assessment and other mental health support services within health care settings.”
Injecting crystal meth is dangerous for a number of reasons; this is just one of them. If you or someone you love is living with crystal meth addiction, contact us today at the number listed above to get the medical care necessary to walk away from needles forever.