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Drink and drugs suicide link

17th June 2008

Researchers at Manchester University have said that alcohol and drug abuse makes people in Scotland "almost twice as likely" than people elsewhere in the UK to commit suicide or kill others.

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The Scottish Government commissioned the study, called the Lessons for Mental Health Care in Scotland report.

The report showed 500 murders in Scotland during a five year period and 5,000 suicides over six years.

The number of suicides in Scotland were 18.7 per 100,000 of the population, in comparison to 10.2 per 100,000 in England and Wales.

The study shows that of the 1,373 patient suicides, abuse of alcohol featured in 785 cases and drug abuse was seen in 522 cases.

Over a quarter - 28% - of suicides and 12% of murders were carried out by people who had "recently been" under mental health care.

Louis Appleby, professor of psychiatry at Manchester University, said the report's findings indicated that alcohol and drug abuse could be the cause of the high number of suicides and murders in Scotland.

Professor Appleby added: "Alcohol and drug misuse runs through these findings and it appears to be a major contributor to risk in mental health care and broader society."

"Our findings support the view that alcohol and drugs are the most pressing mental health problems in Scotland and mental health services can play their part."

The report recommends that clinical care should be given to improve the problem, including better mental health care for younger people. 

 

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