Suicidal Drug Overdoses in New Mexico: A 5-year Retrospective Review*

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Abstract

To better understand the changing toxicology trends in suicidal drug overdoses in the setting of an increased national trend of multidrug overdoses, a retrospective review of electronic records from New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator database was performed between 2008 and 2012 to assess the drug type and current risk factors in suicide deaths. Information on demographics, circumstances, suicide risk factors, toxicology findings, and death certificates was collected and analyzed. Three hundred and forty-two suicide cases of suicide overdoses were identified. Decedents were predominantly female (61.8%). Scene investigation revealed risk factors including suicide ideation (47.4%), previous suicide attempts (38%), and suicide note (38%). Psychiatric illness was present in 72% of cases, with depression being the most common illness. Chronic pain was seen in 27.2% of cases. Most deaths were attributed to multiple drugs (76%). Utilizing the toxicology information will assist in creating public awareness and provide a framework to support targeted efforts to attempt to prevent future suicides.

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