Substance abuse and suicide risk among adolescents

  • Maurizio PompiliEmail author
  • Gianluca Serafini
  • Marco Innamorati
  • Massimo Biondi
  • Alberto Siracusano
  • Massimo Di Giannantonio
  • Giancarlo Giupponi
  • Mario Amore
  • David Lester
  • Paolo Girardi
  • Anne Maria Möller-Leimkühler
Original Paper


The aim of this paper was to review the literature concerning the relationship between suicide and substance abuse behaviours among adolescents, focusing on epidemiology, comorbidity and preventive programmes. We performed a Pubmed/Medline, Scopus, PsycLit and PsycInfo search to identify all papers and book chapters during the period between 1980 and 2011. Adolescents with substance abuse disorder who attempt or complete suicide can be characterized as having mood disorders, stressful life events, interpersonal problems, poor social support, lonely lives and feelings of hopelessness. The research supports the existence of a strong relationship between suicide and substance abuse. Preventive programmes should be based on the detection of risk factors associated with both suicide and substance abuse disorder. Management programmes should combine different therapeutic strategies such as peer-to-peer education, school-based programmes, psychotherapy and pharmacological treatment. Evidence suggests that targeted suicide prevention programmes can be delivered which reduce the burden associated with substance abuse and suicide in youths.


Drug abuse Alcohol abuse Suicide Youths Prevention 


Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maurizio Pompili
    • 1
    • 2
    • 10
    Email author
  • Gianluca Serafini
    • 1
  • Marco Innamorati
    • 1
  • Massimo Biondi
    • 3
  • Alberto Siracusano
    • 4
  • Massimo Di Giannantonio
    • 5
  • Giancarlo Giupponi
    • 6
  • Mario Amore
    • 7
  • David Lester
    • 8
  • Paolo Girardi
    • 1
  • Anne Maria Möller-Leimkühler
    • 9
  1. 1.Department of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Sensory Functions, Suicide Prevention Center, Sant’Andrea HospitalSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Psychological MedicineSapienza Università di RomaRomeItaly
  4. 4.Department of Neuroscience, Division of PsychiatryUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  5. 5.Neuroscience and Imaging DepartmentUniversity of ChietiChietiItaly
  6. 6.Department of PsychiatryBolzanoItaly
  7. 7.Department of Neurosciences, Division of PsychiatryUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  8. 8.The Richard Stockton College of New JerseyPomonaUSA
  9. 9.Department of PsychiatryLudwig-Maximilians-University of MunichMunichGermany
  10. 10.Department of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Sensory Organs—Sant’Andrea HospitalSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

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