Frequency of prescription opioid misuse and suicidal ideation, planning, and attempts

J Psychiatr Res. 2017 Sep;92:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2017.03.011. Epub 2017 Mar 19.


The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between past-year frequency of prescription opioid misuse and past-year suicidal ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts. Secondary data analyses were conducted using data from 41,053 participants of the 2014 National Survey of Drug Use and Health. Past-year frequency of prescription opioid misuse was grouped into 4 categories: none, less than monthly (1-11 times), monthly to weekly (12-51 times), and weekly or more (52 times or more). Binomial logistic regression analyses adjusted for demographics, overall health rating, depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders to test the associations between frequency of prescription opioid misuse and suicide-related variables. Compared to those who did not endorse prescription opioid misuse in the past year, prescription opioid misuse was significantly associated with suicidal ideation, suicide planning, and suicide attempts for each frequency of use category in unadjusted models (p < 0.05). In adjusted models, frequency of prescription opioid misuse remained significantly associated with suicidal ideation (p < 0.05 for each frequency category); however, only the group reporting weekly or more use on average was associated with suicide planning and attempts (p < 0.05). The findings provide novel specificity regarding prescription opioid use in relation to suicide-related outcomes further supporting enhanced access to suicide prevention and nonpharmacological approaches to pain management across various settings.

Keywords: Opioids; Pain relievers; Prescription opioid misuse; Suicidal ideation; Suicide attempts; Suicide planning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / psychology*
  • Prescription Drug Misuse / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicidal Ideation*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Young Adult