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Opioid Misuse and Suicide-Related Outcomes: Summary and Recommendations for Intervention and Primary Prevention

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2022
6 pages

This article provides strategies for preventing opioid misuse and suicidal tendencies, especially among the adolescent population, in light of the converging rise in suicide-related outcomes and concurrent opioid epidemic, which has led to a three-year decline in life expectancy among Americans.


This article addresses the trend of rising of suicide-related outcomes (SROs), which consist of suicidal ideation, plans, attempts, and deaths by suicide, which has been combined with illicit opioid misuse since the 1990s. The article discusses the association between opioid misuse and SROs; provides strategies for preventing opioid misuse and SROs, including universal screening of all patients for suicide in all health settings; integrated care, which can be best accomplished through patient record-sharing among authorized providers; and providing family support services. The document concludes that these three strategies are the first major steps in reducing the concurrent suicide and opioid epidemics, and they should be assumed as standard operating procedures for moving forward. It also provides resources for Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) grantees interested in taking the recommended actions.