The Cedar Project: correlates of attempted suicide among young Aboriginal people who use injection and non-injection drugs in two Canadian cities

Int J Circumpolar Health. 2009 Jun;68(3):261-73. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v68i3.18338.


Objectives: Aboriginal leadership and families are deeply concerned about the rate of suicide attempt among their young people. The objectives of this study were to (a) describe the prevalence of suicide attempt and (b) to describe correlates of vulnerability to suicide attempts within a cohort of young Aboriginal people who use drugs in 2 Canadian cities. We aimed to situate the findings within the context of historical and lifetime trauma. Study design. The Cedar Project is a prospective cohort study involving 605 young Aboriginal people aged 14-30 who use drugs in Vancouver and Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.

Methods: Multivariable logistic regression modelling identified independent predictors of suicide attempts. Estimates of adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated.

Result: In multivariable analysis, residing in Prince George (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]: 1.80, 95% CI: 1.23, 2.64), ever having been sexually abused (AOR: 2.07, 95% CI: 1.39, 3.08), and ever having overdosed (AOR: 2.29, 95% CI: 1.53, 3.42) independently predicted lifetime attempted suicide.

Conclusions: Suicide prevention and intervention programs must address historical and lifetime trauma among Aboriginal young people who struggle with substance dependence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • British Columbia / epidemiology
  • Drug Users / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indians, North American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Suicide, Attempted / ethnology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult