Examining Relationship Between Suicide, Substance Abuse

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new white paper focusing on the current state of knowledge about the interrelationship between substance abuse and suicide.

Entitled “Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention: Evidence & Implications,” the document stresses substance abuse as a risk-factor for suicide and suicide attempts and the importance of continued learning about this connection to help prevent suicidal behavior.


The white paper provides an overview of the advances made over the past decade in the areas of substance abuse prevention and treatment, and suicide prevention-and then further examines how this knowledge can be effectively interwoven in suicide prevention efforts.

The first section of the white paper focuses on the epidemiology of suicide itself and presents a brief history of the growing focus on suicide as a public health issue of significant concern.

The second section provides an overview of what we know and do not know of the impact of substance abuse on suicide risk. The final section of the document explores suicide prevention within the public health context of behavioral health promotion and illness prevention.