Completed Suicide Among Methamphetamine Users: A National Study

Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2019 Feb;49(1):328-337. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12442. Epub 2018 Feb 14.


All Australian cases of methamphetamine-related suicide (2009-2015) retrieved from the National Coronial Information System were examined to determine crude mortality rates, characteristics and circumstances of death, and blood toxicology. There were 300 cases, 18.2% of all methamphetamine-related deaths, and 1.6% of all completed suicides. The mean age was 33.1 years, and 77.0% were male. The crude mortality rate was 1.9 per 106 , with males having a significantly higher rate than females (2.9 vs. 0.9 per 106 ). A quarter were known to have previous suicide attempts, and a history of psychosis was noted in 12.3%. In 40.7% of cases, witnesses described the decedent as having been agitated and/or aggressive immediately prior to the incident. The vast majority (85.3%), and of both sexes (males 87.0%, females 79.7%), used violent methods. Hanging (70.3%) was overwhelmingly the most frequent method among both males (70.1%) and females (71.0%). Prescription medications were frequently present: hypnosedatives (23.6%), antidepressants (19.5%), and antipsychotics (8.4%). Self-poisoning cases were significantly more likely to have antidepressants (odds ratio: 4.2) and opioids (4.9) present, but less likely to have cannabis (0.3). Methamphetamine-related suicide makes a large contribution to methamphetamine-related death and represents a substantial clinical and public health problem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Suicide, Attempted*
  • Young Adult


  • Methamphetamine