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Suicide is an epidemic in our nation’s youth.  Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for adolescents ages 10-34(1). Substance abuse is one of the top risk factors for suicide.

I am the founder of Addiction Hope, an online community dedicated to providing information, resources and treatment options for those suffering from substance abuse, process addictions and related behavioral health issues.

Just last week we learned of a young college student who struggled with addiction to anxiety medications.  He had been clean for over a year and was doing well in school and life.  Until his fraternity brother brought home some Xanax and weed to the frat house last Saturday night.

This promising and recovering young man decided one last hurrah with the pain killer Xanax and a little weed would take the edge off of all the pressures he faced. He had financial concerns as to how he would pay for the next semester’s tuition, as his parents were divorcing and could no longer afford to pay for his schooling.  Additionally, he was stressed out about pending end of year finals and concerned his grades would be too low to continue to play baseball, his beloved sport.  Lastly, he and his girlfriend were arguing, and their relationship seemed on the downhill slope.  All of this compiled to become the perfect justification for one last dabble into drugs and escaping life.

Only problem, he passed out at midnight.  He then woke up at 3am, grabbed his gun and killed his fraternity brother.  Then he went back to his room and killed himself.  No more need to escape the pressures of his demanding life, troubled relationships and fears for the future.  He is dead. His fraternity brother and buddy is dead, too.

Homicide, suicide and the heartbroken families and friends are left behind.  Promising young lives ended far too early.  Did the drugs cause this insane state of mind in this young man? Likely. Did he have any idea this could ever happen?  Doubtful. Is the reality of the situation almost unbearably devastating and ugly?  Yes.

If you know of someone struggling with addiction and substance abuse, please know that they are at a heightened risk for suicide.  Reach out to the addiction sufferer or their loved ones and encourage them to seek professional treatment to overcome their addiction and quite possibly save their life.

Sources:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/suicide-faq/index.shtml
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

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If You Know Someone in Crisis:Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1–800–273–TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1–800–799–4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency. Learn more on the NSPL’s website. The Crisis Text Line is another resource available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Text “HOME” to 741741.

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