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Article

Unnatural Death among Treatment Seeking Substance Users in Singapore: A Retrospective Study

1
Research Division, Institute of Mental Health, 10 Buangkok View, Singapore 539747, Singapore
2
National Addictions Management Service, Institute of Mental Health, 10 Buangkok View, Singapore 539747, Singapore
3
Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, 10 Buangkok View, Singapore 539747, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(15), 2743; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16152743
Received: 1 July 2019 / Revised: 29 July 2019 / Accepted: 29 July 2019 / Published: 31 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Substance Abuse, Environment and Public Health)
Substance use carries a higher risk of unnatural death. A retrospective analysis of 42 treatment seekers between 2011–2015 was conducted through medical record review to understand the profile and circumstances leading to premature deaths. Ninety percent of the subjects were males. The mean age at death was 44.9 (SD ± 13.1). Opioids (52.4%), benzodiazepines (45.2%) and alcohol (35.7%) were the main substances used by the group. Suicide was the most common cause of death (n = 27, 64.3%) followed by accidents (n = 15; 35.7%). Among the suicide cases, alcohol was the main substance used (33.3%) followed by opioids (25.9%). A total of 58.5% (n = 24) deaths occurred within a year of their last visit while 41.5% (n = 17) were dead more than a year after their last visit. Of the total cases (n = 41), 63% had a history of mental illness with depressive disorder (53.8%) being the most common. History of suicide attempts were reported in 34.1% (n = 14) of cases and 50% of the subjects (n = 21) had a history of suicidal ideation. Drug related offences were reported in 57.1% of the subjects, of which 60% (n = 18) committed suicide. The findings support the need for appropriate treatment resources to reduce the untimely deaths among substance users. View Full-Text
Keywords: unnatural death; suicide; accidental death; overdose; opiates; alcohol; substance use unnatural death; suicide; accidental death; overdose; opiates; alcohol; substance use
MDPI and ACS Style

PV, A.; Jun Wen, T.; Karuvetil, M.Z.; Cheong, A.; Cheok, C.; Kandasami, G. Unnatural Death among Treatment Seeking Substance Users in Singapore: A Retrospective Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2743. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16152743

AMA Style

PV A, Jun Wen T, Karuvetil MZ, Cheong A, Cheok C, Kandasami G. Unnatural Death among Treatment Seeking Substance Users in Singapore: A Retrospective Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(15):2743. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16152743

Chicago/Turabian Style

PV, Asharani, Tan Jun Wen, Mohamed Z. Karuvetil, Alvin Cheong, Christopher Cheok, and Gomathinayagam Kandasami. 2019. "Unnatural Death among Treatment Seeking Substance Users in Singapore: A Retrospective Study" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 15: 2743. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph16152743

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