West Virginia researcher says drug suicides undercounted

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia University researcher says the official U.S. suicide rate, which rose 34 percent from 200 to 2016, fails to include many people who kill themselves purposely with drugs.

Ian Rockett, professor of epidemiology in WVU’s School of Public Health, led an international study released Wednesday by PLOS ONE, a journal published by the Public Library of Science.

Rocket says there is “a serious problem of suicide undercounting in the United States.”

Their analysis says detecting suicides by drug intoxication depends on authenticated suicide notes and psychiatric histories, noting such evidence if often missing even in more apparent suicides by shooting and hanging.

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