HealthDay News — Drug-related suicide attempts in the United States increased over a recent six-year period, with dramatic increases seen among young- and middle-aged adults, health officials reported.

Overall, suicide attempts involving prescription medications and other drugs jumped by 51% among people aged 12 years and older between 2005 and 2011, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The agency examined trends in emergency department visits for drug-related suicide attempts. The most significant increases occurred among adults younger than 30 — up 58% over the six years studied — and people aged 45 to 64 years, who experienced a 104% spike in drug-related suicide attempts.

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“We probably are seeing an increase in overall suicide attempts, and along with that we are also seeing an increase in drug-related suicide attempts,” Peter Delany, PhD, director of the agency’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, told HealthDay. “People have access to medications, and they are using both prescription and over-the-counter meds. It is clear that there are more drugs out there.”

More information on the SAMHSA findings is available here.