Study finds young people often turn to drugs found in most medicine cabinets when attempting to take their own lives

(U.S.) – The study led by researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital reports over the counter analgesics such as aspirin, Tylenol or Advil ranked the highest of all substances in the nearly 1.7 million suicide attempts nationwide from 2000 to 2018.

The study focused on suicide attempts by people ages 10 to 25, which was recently published online in the Journal of Clinical Toxicology. The study led by researchers with Nationwide Children’s Hospital also indicated more than half of the total number of attempted suicides resulted in hospitalization and nearly 25% resulted in serious medical outcomes, including 1,579 deaths.

Antidepressants were next on the list of most common substances used followed by sedatives and hypnotics as the third most commonly used substance. Antihistamines, like Benadryl and other allergy drugs, and antipsychotics rounded out the top five.

The study also noted that the use of ADHD medications in attempts led to the highest risk of causing serious outcomes that led to moderate or major effects.

Researchers indicated that suicide rates were higher in rural states and hypothesized this being due to population density. There also appeared to be an increased frequency during school months among people in age groups from 10 to 18, but that was not the case in those ages 19 to 25. Meanwhile, the frequency of use of opioids in suicide attempts saw a substantial decline since 2012.


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