Ann Pharmacol Pharm | Volume 4, Issue 1 | Review Article | Open Access

US Suicide Epidemic and the Criminalization of Psychiatry and Pain Medicine

Alen J Salerian*

Neuroscience Institute, Greece

*Correspondance to: Alen J Salerian 

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Background: US have been experiencing a suicide epidemic at a time when the US homicides have declined and suicides in Japan and the European Union have also declined. Methods: We reviewed the suicide rates of US, Japan and the European Union from 2000 to 2014. We reviewed the 3 known major influences of suicides, psychiatric disorders psychiatric treatment and the economic conditions. Relevant articles published between 1980 and 2015 were identified through searches in Google Scholar, and Springer Online Archives Collection. Articles resulting from these searches and relevant references cited in those articles were reviewed. Articles published in English were included. Findings: From 2000 to 2014 US suicide rates rise from 10.5 to 13 per 100.000 population, deaths from heroine rose from 0.7 to 3.4 and deaths by homicide declined from 5.4 to 4.4. In general the economic indicators were stable with low unemployment. The military suicides were higher than the civilian population but their overall impact on the suicide epidemic seemed insignificant. From 2000 to 2014 the percentage of deaths associated with prescription opiates declined from 38.1% to 28% while the percentage of heroin deaths jumped from 11% to 28%. There was a statistically strong correlation (r=0.9) between the suicide and heroine epidemics. Interpretation: The evidence suggests endorphin agonists (opiates) are crucial to effectively treat treatment refractory depression, chronic pain and heroin addiction. And the manmade restrictions limiting the availability of prescription opiates might have been a crucial catalyst-consistent with Ed Lorenz “Chaos theory and the butterfly effect “- triggering the US suicide epidemic.


Suicide; Suicide epidemic; Depression; Self inflicted deaths; Schizophrenia, Systematic review


Salerian AJ. US Suicide Epidemic and the Criminalization of Psychiatry and Pain Medicine. Ann Pharmacol Pharm. 2019;4(1):1166.

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