Newswise — 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: [email protected]

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:



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


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


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


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


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