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Opioid epidemic, suicide rates related, WVU expert says

Portrait of Dr. Ian Rockett on blue background
WVU epidemiologist says new study reveals link between opioid crisis and suicide rates. 
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Steadily rising suicide rates are related to the country’s opioid epidemic, a West Virginia University epidemiologist says. According to Dr. Ian Rockett, WVU’s newest study reveals that drug suicides are a significant public health issue. 

Dr. Ian Rockett
Injury Control Research
WVU School of Public Health

“Our research suggests that medical examiners and coroners may need to rely heavily on physical evidence, like a suicide note, to label a drug death as suicide rather than accident or undetermined intent. Underestimating the true toll of drug suicides and other self-injury mortality greatly complicates efforts to prevent suicides in general, and opioid deaths in particular.”

Contact information: irockett@hsc.wvu.edu

The study, “Method overtness, forensic autopsy, and the evidentiary suicide note: a multilevel National Violent Death Reporting System analysis,” was released in PLOS One, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Public Library of Science, on May 22 , and is available online.

Read more about Rockett’s extensive research on this topic over nearly two decades at WVU:

2018

New study, led by public health researchers finds ‘suicides by drugs’ profoundly undercounted in the U.S.

2016

WVU researcher: Self-injury ties with diabetes as 7th leading cause of death in U.S.

2015

WVU epidemiologist featured in JAMA Psychiatry says suicide and death from intentional self-injury is greatly underestimated in U.S.

2010

WVU research disputes suicide data; drug overdoses may cause discrepancies in numbers

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.

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