Racial and ethnic differences in deaths by suicide, drug overdose, and opioid-related overdose in a national sample of military members with mild traumatic brain injury, 1999-
Bahraini, N., Adams, R.S., Caban, J., Kinney, A.R., Forster, J.E., Hoffmire, C.A., ... & Brenner, L.A.
Objective: To examine racial and ethnic differences in suicide and drug and opioid-related overdose deaths among a population-based cohort of military service members who were diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) during military service. Design: Retrospective cohort. Setting: Military personnel receiving care within the Military Health System between 1999 and 2019. Participants: In total, 356 514 military members aged 18 to 64 years, who received an mTBI diagnosis as their index TBI between 1999 and 2019, while on active duty or activated. Main Measures: Death by suicide, death by drug overdose, and death by opioid overdose were identified using International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes within the National Death Index. Race and ethnicity were captured from the Military Health System Data Repository. Results: Overall crude rates were 38.67 per 100 000 person-years for suicide; 31.01 per 100 000 person-years for drug overdose death; and 20.82 per 100 000 person-years for opioid overdose death. Crude and age-specific rates for military members who self-identified as Other were higher than all other racial/ethnic groups for all 3 mortality outcomes. Adjusting for age, suicide rates for those classified as Other were up to 5 times that of other racial/ethnic groups for suicide, and up to 11 and 3.5 times that of other race/ethnicity groups for drug and opioid overdose death, respectively. Conclusion: Findings extend previous knowledge regarding risk for suicide and deaths by drug overdose among those with mTBI and highlight new important areas for understanding the impact of race and ethnicity on mortality. Methodological limitations regarding classification of race and ethnicity must be addressed to ensure that future research provides a better understanding of racial and ethnic disparities in suicide and drug overdose mortality among military members with TBI.