Research

Childhood abuse raises drug users’ suicide risk

A significant risk factor

A study in Vancouver, British Columbia, showed that the risk of suicide among drug users who had been abused as children was up to five times greater than in the general population. Credit: M-J Milloy /University of British Columbia

A new five-year study that tracked more than 1,600 drug users found that severe abuse in their childhood – emotional, sexual, and to a lesser extent physical – significantly elevated their risk of attempting suicide. Screening for such abuse and offering treatment may help public officials and care providers reduce suicides.