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JAN. 17, 2019 – “I think we’re all wondering about the connection between suicide deaths and opioid deaths. And it’s likely that there are some connections for some of the deaths, and then for other deaths, not as much of a connection,” said Jill Harkavey-Friedman, vice president for research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “The issue is that many times people who are suicidal might be using substances like opioids or vice versa. There can be a lot of overlap, and it can be very hard to tell when somebody’s died, was it an accident or did they purposely die by suicide,” she said. The suicide prevention organization is funding a year-long online study beginning this month that will look for connections. The researchers will take information from about 100 relatives of those who have died by their own hand as well as people who have lost loved ones to opioid use and other drug-related causes. That will be compared against information gleaned from those who have experienced loss because of traumatic causes such as aggressive cancer or heart failure, wrote Jamison Bottomley in an e-mail. He’s a University of Memphis graduate student who is leading the study.

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