Dimensions of Suicide Research: Substance misuse in life and death in a 2-year cohort of suicides

Karen Galway, D. Gossrau-Breen, Sharon Mallon, Lynette Hughes, Michael Rosato, Janeet Rondon, Gerard Leavey

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


While substance misuse is a key risk factor in suicide relatively little is known about the relationship between lifetime misuse and misuse in suicide.

To examine the relationship between a history of substance misuse and misuse at the time of a suicide.

Linkage of Coroner reports of 403 suicides occurring over two years with associated primary care records. History of substance misuse was defined as alcohol misuse and/or prescription or illicit drug misuse, for which medical help was sought.

With alcohol misuse: 65% of the cohort had previously sought help and 42% were intoxicated at the suicide (with 30% of these seeing their GP in the previous year). With misuse of other substances: 54% of the cohort were tested for blood toxicology (37% of these tested positive) - with positive toxicology defined as an excess of prescription drugs over the therapeutic minima and/or detection of illicit substances. Those tested were more likely to be young and have a history of drug abuse.

Understanding the links between substance misuse and the use of substances in conjunction with the act of suicide is discussed in light of the study results and current pathology and coroner practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015
EventXXXIVth International Congress on Law and Mental Health - Sigmund Freud University, Vienna, Austria
Duration: 12 Jul 201517 Jul 2015


ConferenceXXXIVth International Congress on Law and Mental Health


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