Year: 2021 Source: American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. (2021). Published online 10 August 2021. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2021.1955895. SIEC No: 20210619

The opioid crisis in the United States has received national attention and critical resources in the past decade. However, what has been overlooked is the effect the opioid crisis may be having on a three-decade suicide crisis among American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities that already have too few resources to address behavioral and mental health issues. This paper describes recent epidemiological trends associated with both opioid overdose and suicide at a national level for AIANs and the rest of the United States. We used data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to report historical trends of opioid overdose and suicide for AIAN and non-AIAN populations. We found alarming and potentially correlated trends of opioid use and suicidality among AIAN populations. We highlight both current and future research that will be essential to understanding and addressing the unique intersection between opioid and suicide risk and protective factors to inform dual prevention and intervention efforts among AIAN populations with potential relevance to public health response among other at-risk populations.