As We Focus on Homicide, Suicide Should Not Be Overlooked and Substance Abuse is A Primary CauseOctober 29, 2021
By Gene Gilchrist, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer
Recent reports rightfully focus on the increase of homicides nationwide in 2020. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that homicides increased between 2019 and 2020 by 30% to 21,570 deaths. Such an increase is alarming and telling of trends in the nation beyond the author’s expertise.
In that same time the Centers for Disease Control reports that deaths from self-harm – suicide — have declined by 5.5% but remain at more than twice the deaths from homicide at 44,834. On the list of leading causes of death reported by the CDC self-harm ranks 10th.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that among suicides the contributing factors include:
- Alcohol Abuse (22.0%)
- Opioid Abuse (20.0%)
- Marijuana Abuse (10.2%)
- Cocaine Abuse (4.6%)
- Methamphetamine Abuse (3.4%)
In total, substance use, and in the case of self-harm abuse by definition, accounts for 60% of deaths from self-harm.
Yet, we manage to extend treatment for substance use disorder (addiction) to only 12% of all those with the disease. As we have discussed previously, only 6% of the 27 million people suffering from addiction achieve continuous recovery. Quick, name the other disease where we tolerate that level of availability of treatment.
We very much misunderstand the breadth of addiction. While we find comfort in thinking that addiction lives under the highway, denial finds comfort in ignoring that addiction lives in our workplace, in our church/template/mosque, in our school, in our neighborhood, in our home. And, you know that is true. Now you know that the consequences are even more dire than you suspected.
We are not arguing that we ignore the issues of increasing violence and the growth of homicide as a cause of death and a scourge on our nation. We are arguing that we attend to other serious issues as well. Importantly, let us attend to substance use, abuse and addiction and, in turn, impact the 10th leading cause of death in the nation.
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Stay Clean is a groundbreaking approach to create additional opportunities for addicts, alcoholics and their loved ones to find an answer. Created by recovering addicts and alcoholics, and people with experience in codependent relationships, Stay Clean is a cloud based, easily accessible, 24 hour community of recovering people and their loved ones helping each other and offering a comprehensive array of recovery services online. Members will access online Recovery Meetings, directions to find on site 12 step meetings in their area, and interact with each other in forums to find answers to their questions. There are proprietary treatment options similar to distance education and face-to-face counseling via telehealth. Counselors and peer coaches will always be highly qualified, highly credentialed, very experienced.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, members will find easily accessible resources to work through life skills such as relationship building, parenting, career and employment, legal issues and financial management to name a few – they will find help with those kinds of issues that suffered the most during their years of active addiction.
For more information, please visit the Stay Clean web site at https://www.stayclean.com/.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gene Gilchrist, Ph.D. is the Chief Executive Officer of Stay Clean a cloud-based clinical treatment and recovery community headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.
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