Today, an amendment offered by Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) during the Science, Space, and Technology Committee markup of H.R. 4704, the Advancing Research to Prevent Suicide Act, was approved with unanimous support. The amendment adds a research topic to the competitive grant program created by the bill to advance research on drug and alcohol abuse as it relates to suicide.
“When 25% of alcoholics and drug addicts die by or attempt suicide, we must do everything we can to better understand and prevent this public health crisis,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “My amendment encourages grant recipients to close existing research gaps and conduct much-needed research to discover how drug and alcohol abuse relates to suicide.”
The Advancing Research to Prevent Suicide Act is a bipartisan bill that authorizes the National Science Foundation, in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Mental Health, to fund a multidisciplinary competitive grant program that support researchs on the science of suicide.
There is a correlation between suicide, substance abuse, and mental health. Studies show that drug and alcohol abuse is involved in 22% of all suicides in the U.S., and at least 25% of alcoholics and drug addicts die by or attempt suicide. 90% of people who fall victim to suicide suffer from a substance abuse disorder, depression, or both.
The rate of individuals dying by suicide in Virginia has risen over the past ten years, mirroring the trend of increasing rates of suicide nationally. In 2017 alone, more than 1,100 Virginians died by suicide.