Substance Misuse



Substance abuse policies have had a more positive impact on suicide mortality in the total population than either suicide prevention strategies or mental health programs.1]  

Alcohol plays by far the biggest role in precipitating suicide.  Suicide rates are not related so much to total country consumption as to the presence of binge drinking. 

The average risk of suicide among opiate abusers is 14 times greater than the general population.  It also carries a high risk of accidental overdose.  Heavy cannabis use is associated with 4 times the risk of suicide. 

Abuse of other substances such as petrol sniffing, chroming, etc. carry similar risks. 

In the context of other life stressors, research indicates that alcohol misuse may play a contributing factor in the escalation of impulsive behaviours leading to a great risk of suicide.[2]







[1] De Leo, D., & Evans, R. (2004). International Suicide Rates and Prevention Strategies. Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe & Huber.

[2] Sher, L. (2006). Alcohol consumption and suicide. Q J Med: An international journal of medicine, 99(1), 57-61. Retrieved from



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