Clinical Context of Suicide Following Opioid Transitions

Clinical Context of Suicide Following Opioid Transitions

CSI:OPIOIDs (Clinical Context of Suicide Following Opioid Transitions) is a scientific research study to closely examine suicides that happen after prescription opioid dose reductions in patients with long-term pain. Beginning as a pilot study supported by UAB Heersink School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, today it’s supported by a Veterans Administration grant under the title “CSI:OPIOIDs-V“. The study’s purpose is to increase knowledge of the demographic, societal, and clinical factors that have led and may lead patients with pain to die by suicide after opioid reduction or stoppage.

Our work was inspired by the attention and tracking of Ms. Anne Fuqua, who noticed that many suicides of pain patients were reported by families online, but not followed up by health authorities or policymakers.

Results from the CSI:OPIOIDs study will help families, clinicians, and policymakers understand when and why patients with pain die by suicide after opioid reduction or stoppage. The results will help identify ways to improve health care and assure positive outcomes for patients with pain.

Why It Matters

Since 2012, many doctors have been reducing or stopping opioid medications in their patients with pain. While some patients have tolerated this change in medication, others have been harmed gravely, with suicidal events found in several research papers and news reports. Right now, no one fully understand what personal factors or life circumstances differentiate patients who tolerate change in their opioid medications well from those who are harmed by that change. Until we look closely at the individual tragedies, we cannot expect the kind of systematic changes in healthcare that will reduce negative outcomes for similar patients in the future.

What Will This Study Do

The CSI:OPIOIDs team will:

  • Compile a registry of individuals who have died by suicide following a reduction or stoppage in their opioid medication
  • Perform in-depth, one on one interviews with survivors of individuals who have died by suicide after opioid transition to understand what led their loved-one to commit suicide
  • Identify factors common to these individuals prior to their death and suggest ways to reduce likelihood that future patients will commit suicide under similar circumstances

There are many reasons that no other team has attempted to study these deaths closely. But one is that any form of research that reaches out to members of the public who have suffered such a loss is hard to do. A research team must surmount logistical challenges and establish trust across communities of patients, families, experts and policy makers. See our briefing on Youtube to learn more.

Research Team

The CSI:OPIOIDs research team is led by Dr. Stefan Kertesz, Professor of Medicine at UAB Heersink School of Medicine and physician at the Birmingham VA Medical Center. See Our Team for more information.



5 Responses

  1. While Dr Stefan Kertesz, seems to understand until we have people who can influence those in charge with more than studies actually can DO SOMETHING i feel it will just continue. It’s getting harder and harder not to lose hope and I’m one of the lucky ones who has a caring dr but the state controls what she can prescribe. I’m afraid to tell her that it’s barely touching my pain for fear she will reduce me even more.

  2. In the video he states that the intention is NOT to restore effective pain medicine. It is only to get grants to study us to see who will suicide themselves. It seems as if they are making a living off of our suffering and are studying us to death.

  3. U know it amazed me as well,,when I spoke to a politician about this..To us,,,its soooooooooo obvious,,u take away our medicine that allows us to live life,,we no longer live life,,dahhhhhhh,,,But thee politician i spoke with,,,notta,,,Then he said kinda like a vet who’s lost his limbs,,i said well ,no,,some still have there limbs,but every movement severely hurts with physical pain from what-ever their MEDICAL conditions is causing there physical pain in the first place,,I asked him to imagen,,un-able the breath,eat,cough,,use your arms w/out severe physical pain,,then imagen you find a medicine ayt a once effective dosage, that lessen that physical pain ,so u can breath, move,,,walk,,,then it gets taken away,,,,whats the point in living life,,,if it simple hurts to breath,or you can’t function anymore cause the medicine you once had,,at an effective dose,,,is now forcible gone,,,,,whats the point of going on,,U become a burden,,you can’t contribute to life anymore,,,He still,,,wasn’t understanding it,,,I think its common sense,,but my brother told me,,,before he died,,,they will never get it,,,cause it not happening to them,,,,,,,,i fear,,,he was right,,,,jmo,,maryw

  4. Honestly, I find this study to be total BS! There is no concern about ensuring that people don’t lose access to their life-sustaining or lifesaving medication and that people continue to have access to opioid medications. Nooo, they just want to know what these people have in common in order to prevent others from committing suicide when THEIR pain meds are taken away from them. They’re even admitting that’s their only concern. So, yet again, they’re finding a way to acknowledge the issue of pain patients losing access to their opioid medications without actually addressing the fact that they are losing access to their opioid pain medications. They just want to know how to continue to keep us alive and suffering for as long as possible!!

  5. Not one mention of medical conditions or the intensity of pain? What kind of study doesn’t consider this when opioids are given for pain control.? I wouldn’t trust anyone f doing a study with such narrow minded concerns.

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