Suicide thoughts and behavior (STB) are associated with premature mortality and is disproportionately represented among those with opioid use disorder (OUD). Recent trends in STB among those with OUD are lacking. We investigated trends in STB among US adults with versus without OUD using six waves of cross-sectional, nationally-representative, epidemiological data.
Data came from the 2015–2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (combined n = 241,675). We compared past-year STB outcomes (i.e., thoughts of seriously considering killing self (SI), suicide plan (SP), suicide attempt (SA)) among adults with versus without past-year OUD. Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression tested the association between survey-year and past-year STB outcomes (i.e., SI, SP/SA) stratified by OUD status.
Between 2015 and 2020, 26% versus 4% of those with and without OUD, respectively, reported SI, 10% versus 1% reported a SP, and 6% versus 1% reported SA (all ps < 0.001). In adjusted analyses, across survey years, no changes in the prevalence of SI were observed for adults with or without OUD, and no changes were observed over time for SP/SA in adults with or without OUD. OUD severity and treatment status did not moderate the relationship between OUD and STB outcomes.
Among US adults, OUD was associated with thoughts of suicide and suicide behavior. The heightened prevalence of STB in adults with OUD has not changed in recent years. Screening for SI is needed among those reporting opioid misuse and should be routinely integrated into OUD prevention and treatment.