Suicide among children and teens can be contagious, and now an investigation by psychiatrists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital makes a connection to youth suicide and the opioid epidemic. They looked at the addresses of 300 children admitted to the hospital over three months in 2016 who had suicidal behavior. Price Hall, a poor community, had the most rates of suicidal behavior, and also the most opioid overdoses.
Daniel Nelson, MD, the psychiatrist who led the effort, tells the Washington Post: “This is who is dying from opiates—people in their 20s and 30s. Think about what that population is. It’s parents.”
The suicide rate doubled among children 10 to 14 since 2007, according to the CDC. It is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 24. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate among older teenage girls hit a 40-year-high in 2015.
Nelson says that he made the connection between the suicide rates of younger people and the opioid epidemic when he looked at a map of overdoses in Hamilton County. The overdoses and the suicide rates clustered in the same places.
Nelson tells the Washington Post: “They laid over each other almost exactly.”
The article tells the story of Price Hill resident Scott Emmon.
“Last year, his brother died of a heroin overdose. He left behind two daughters, a 19-year-old who attended Western Hills and a 4-year-old who is now in foster care.
‘I’ve been to 24 funerals and only two weddings,’ said Emmon, 37. ‘It’s so sad to say, but it’s the truth. I see people die all the time. It’s like a normal thing now.’”
Source: Washington Post