Bottom Line: Opioid use by parents was associated with increased risk of suicide attempt by their children in a study that linked medical claims for opioid prescriptions for parents with medical claims for suicide attempts by their children. This observational study included 184,000 children whose parents used opioids and about 148,000 children whose parents didn't. Parental opioid use was defined having filled prescriptions covering more than a year of an opioid between 2010 and 2016. Of the children whose parents didn't use opioids, 212 (0.14 percent) attempted suicide, while 678 (0.37 percent) of the children whose parents used opioids attempted suicide. The increased risk of suicide attempt among children whose parents used opioids remained even after accounting for child age and sex, parent and child depression and substance use diagnoses, and parental history of suicide attempt. Limitations of the study include a conservative definition of parental opioid use and all the claims were for families with private health insurance.
Authors: Robert D. Gibbons, Ph.D., University of Chicago, and coauthors
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