Analysis of Nonfatal Suicide Attempts and Demographic Characteristics of US Military Veterans With Opioid Use Disorder: A Descriptive VA Medical Center Study

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The American Journal on Addictions


Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Suicide and opioid use disorder (OUD) frequently co-occur, and veterans are at a high risk for both conditions. This study aims to determine the characteristics of a cohort of veterans with co-occurring OUD and suicide attempts.

METHOD: Three hundred fifty-three (n = 353) veterans registered at a VA medical center with OUD and at least one suicide attempt between January 2010 and December 2021 were analyzed.

RESULTS: 9.4% of OUD veterans had lifetime suicide attempts, with 7.1% attempting postdiagnosis. High rates of unemployment (88.1%) and housing instability (73.1%) were observed, along with a 98% prevalence of comorbid psychiatric conditions.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Gaining a deeper understanding of this patient population can help improve strategies for preventing suicide and treating OUD more effectively.

SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFIANCE: This study is unique in the current literature for investigating and comparing nonfatal lifetime suicide attempt rates in veterans before and after an OUD diagnosis.