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Study: Drug-caused suicides in Utah underestimated by 33%

FILE - This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. Purdue Pharma, the company which makes OxyContin and other drugs, filed court papers in New York on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

A new study says Utah’s number of drug overdose suicides has potentially been underreported by 33%. The Provo Daily Herald reports the study published in the journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior came to the conclusion after looking at 2,665 overdose deaths that occurred from 2012 to 2015 in Utah. Paul Nestadt, one of the paper’s authors, says the nation’s opioid epidemic has clouded suicide classification across the nation. State health officials say about 627 Utahns die from suicide and 4,574 attempt suicide every year. Utah’s suicide rate is above the national average, causing the deaths of 22.7 per 100,000 people in 2017, compared to a national rate of 14 people per 100,000.  According to the study, that rate could be significantly higher.