Suicide attempts prior to starting methadone maintenance treatment in Taiwan

Vincent Chin Hung Chen, Tsang Yaw Lin, Charles Tzu Chi Lee, Te Jen Lai, Hong Chen*, Cleusa P. Ferri, Michael Gossop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigates recent (one-month) and lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts, and factors associated with one-month suicide attempts among heroin users (n=488) seeking treatment at a methadone maintenance programme in Taiwan. Data were collected by structured interview on demographics, use of heroin and other substances, criminal convictions, depression, social networks, and history of suicide attempt (lifetime suicide attempt, and suicide attempt and suicide ideation in the previous month). Prevalence of recent (one-month) suicide attempt was 10.9% and lifetime prevalence was 17.8%. The finding that so many heroin users had made a suicide attempt in the very recent past is both disturbing and little researched. Recent suicidal attempts were associated with severity of heroin dependence, needle sharing, higher educational level, increased levels of depression, and number of stressful life events. It is suggested that methadone maintenance programmes should routinely screen at intake for previous suicidal behaviour and especially for recent suicidal attempts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-143
Number of pages5
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Dependence
  • Heroin
  • Methadone maintenance treatment
  • Suicide attempts
  • Taiwan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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