For a study, researchers sought to examine the relationship between female suicide attempts before the age of 20 and future risk of drug use disorders.

Females aged 8 to 19 years (after this, referred to as youths) who tried suicide were matched with female adolescents who did not try suicide between April 1, 1989, and March 31, 2019, in Quebec, Canada. To detect later drug use problems, the cohort was tracked for 31 years, for a total of 2 409 396 person-years.

The primary end measure was later-life hospitalization for a drug use disorder. Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for baseline age, mental illness, resource-limited socioeconomic status, and year at the start of follow-up were used to calculate the risk ratios (HRs) and 95 % CIs for the association of suicide attempts with substance use disorders.

About 5,840 (4.8%) of 122,234 female juveniles (mean [SD] age, 15.6 [1.9] years) attempted suicide, while 4,341 (3.6 %) developed a drug use problem. Those who tried suicide had a higher risk of hospitalization for any drug use disorder during the follow-up period (HR, 6.03; 95 % CI, 5.39-6.77), notably sedative or hypnotic use disorders, compared to the 116,394 matched female teenagers who did not try suicide (95.2%) (HR, 32.24; 95% CI, 23.29-44.64). Suicide attempts were linked to the development of sedative or hypnotic use problems for up to 5 years (HR, 66.69; 95% CI, 34.72-128.09); however, risks remained increased for all drugs up to 3 decades later. Female juveniles with three or more suicide attempts had 21.20 (95 % CI, 13.53-32.90) times the risk of drug use disorders, whereas female youths with one attempt had 5.70 (95% CI, 5.08-6.41) times the risk of these disorders.

In the cohort research, female teenagers who tried suicide had a higher risk of later drug use disorders than female youths who did not try suicide. The data showed that greater monitoring and prevention of drug use among female adolescent suicide attempts might be helpful.

Reference: jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2792405