CTN Platform Study from the PN Node Develops Suicide Prevention Intervention

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This article, currently in-press at Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, and written by William Voss, Erin Kaufman, Stephen O’Connor, and colleagues, describes the development and pilot testing of a suicide prevention intervention for patients in treatment for substance abuse, a population at 5-10 times the risk for suicide as the general population.

The Preventing Addiction Related Suicide (PARS) module was developed for use in intensive outpatient addiction treatment groups, and pilot-tested on 78 patients participating in three community treatment programs from the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network’s Pacific Northwest Node.

After receiving the intervention, the patients demonstrated significant post-treatment changes in knowledge and attitudes toward suicide prevention issues, with those gains maintained at 1-month follow-up. Changes in positive help-seeking behaviors in dealing with suicidal issues in friends, family, and self were also observed. Additionally, the PARS was highly rated by treatment staff as feasible within their standard clinical practice.

This pilot study suggests that broad-based suicide prevention in intensive outpatient addiction treatment groups is not only possible but feasible, acceptable, and potentially effective. Further development and testing of the PARS or other suicide prevention strategies is indicated.

Citation: Voss WD, Kaufman E, O’Connor SS, Comtois KA, Conner KR, Ries RK. Preventing Addiction Related Suicide: A Pilot Study. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2013 (in press).


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