Adolescent Suicide Cases: Toxicology Reports and Prescription Drugs

Carrie M. Carretta, Ann W. Burgess, Elizabeth B. Dowdell, Barbara A. Caldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The use of nonmedical prescription drugs in adolescent suicide is a critical issue. This study examined the toxicology of drugs found in a sample of 134 medical examiner records. The majority of adolescents died at home of asphyxia, had a trauma history, psychiatric illness, and a history of child abuse. Thirty-seven types of prescription drugs were found on autopsy; most were not prescribed. Findings from this study suggest that prescription drug misuse has a potent impact on adolescent risk factors. Identifying neurobiological and contextual factors associated with suicidality is critical for prevention efforts by health providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-558
Number of pages7
JournalJournal for Nurse Practitioners
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


  • abuse
  • adolescents
  • prescription drugs
  • suicide
  • toxicology


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