Suicide among young people and adults in Ireland: method characteristics, toxicological analysis and substance abuse histories compared

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Arensman, Ella
Bennardi, Marco
Larkin, Celine
Wall, Amanda
McAuliffe, Carmel
McCarthy, Jacklyn
Williamson, Eileen
Perry, Ivan J.
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Objective: Information on factors associated with suicide among young individuals in Ireland is limited. The aim of this study was to identify socio-demographic characteristics and circumstances of death associated with age among individuals who died by suicide. Methods: The study examined 121 consecutive suicides (2007–2012) occurring in the southern eastern part of Ireland (Cork city and county). Data were obtained from coroners, family informants, and health care professionals. A comparison was made between 15-24-year-old and 25-34-year-old individuals. Socio-demographic characteristics of the deceased, methods of suicide, history of alcohol and drug abuse, and findings from toxicological analysis of blood and urine samples taken at post mortem were included. Pearson’s χ2 tests and binary logistic regression analysis were performed. Results: Alcohol and/or drugs were detected through toxicological analysis for the majority of the total sample (79.5%), which did not differentiate between 15-24-year-old and 25-34-year-old individuals (74.1% and 86.2% respectively). Compared to 25-34-year-old individuals, 15-24-year-old individuals were more likely to engage in suicide by hanging (88.5%). Younger individuals were less likely to die by intentional drug overdose and carbon monoxide poisoning compared to older individuals. Younger individuals who died between Saturday and Monday were more likely to have had alcohol before dying. Substance abuse histories were similar in the two age groups. Conclusion: Based on this research it is recommended that strategies to reduce substance abuse be applied among 25-34-year-old individuals at risk of suicide. The wide use of hanging in young people should be taken into consideration for future means restriction strategies.
Suicide , Ireland , Alcohol consumption , Alcoholism , Toxicology , Drug abuse , Alcohols , Age groups , Adults
Arensman, E., Bennardi, M., Larkin, C., Wall, A., McAuliffe, C., McCarthy, J., Williamson, E. and Perry, I. J. (2016) 'Suicide among Young People and Adults in Ireland: Method Characteristics, Toxicological Analysis and Substance Abuse Histories Compared', PLOS ONE, 11(11), pp. e0166881. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0166881