1 in 100 deaths a result of suicide: Alcohol, cocaine contributing factors – Joe Cassar
Binge-drinking and cocaine are contributing factors in the rise in the number of people who commit suicide, psychiatrist Joe Cassar said.
Interviewed by The Malta Independent online editor Stephen Calleja on INDEPTH, Dr Cassar said that alcohol reduces a person’s inhibitions, and people tend to do things they normally wouldn’t. Unfortunately, some take the extreme measure of committing suicide.
There have been 350 suicides in Malta in the last 12 years, an average of one every two weeks. Of each 100 deaths registered in Malta, one is a suicide. Dr Cassar was interviewed in the wake of an international campaign to raise awareness on mental health issues.
Effects of alcohol use, especially in cases of binge-drinking, do not go away once the hangover passes. They have a more lasting effect on people, Dr Cassar said. Alcohol is a depressogenic agent (it leads to depression), and depression is one of the major causes of suicide.
The same goes for cocaine, Dr Cassar said. There is a growing use of cocaine in Malta, even among the high and middle classes, and once the effect of the drug passes it is followed by what is known as cocaine crash- ing, which causes severe depression. It is no surprise that people who experience cocaine crashing have suicidal tendencies in the second 24 hours after consuming the drug.
Indepth will be uploaded on www.independent.com.mt today