The Relationship between Suicide and Opioid Abuse
In this online presentation, the third in the ICRC-S 2018 webinar series, Lisham Ashrafioun PhD, of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center and the Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, discussed research on the interaction between pain and substance use, how this association may influence patients’ experience of pain, substance use behaviors, and suicide risk, and the development of interventions to identify and treat patients at high-risk of pain and substance use disorders. During this presentation, Dr. Ashrafioun reviewed the epidemiological data exploring the relationship between opioid use and suicidal thoughts and behaviors, the opportunity for future research on preventing suicide among individuals using opioids, and discussed how this research can – and is – informing clinical practice and healthcare policy to avert the role of opioid-related factors in suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Dr. Katie Marks, PhD, of the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities and Project Director for the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort, discussed Kentucky’s strategy of using the bridge clinic model and peer support specialists within emergency departments to integrate screening and initiation of treatment for individuals recovering from an opioid overdose, and how these methods were integrated into hospital workflows.
Lisham Ashrafioun is Senior Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester and Research Investigator at the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. His research has spanned the distinct and overlapping areas of chronic pain, suicide prevention, and substance use – particularly opioid misuse. Dr. Ashrafioun’s research interests lie in assessing nonpharmacological pain management approaches, including combining various forms of self-management strategies, on physical functioning and vulnerability of suicide-related outcomes. Dr. Ashrafioun has also led several large-scale studies of the suicide risk of chronic pain patients from national survey and administrative medical record data, to identify innovative interventions and targets to optimize pain management and suicide prevention efforts in patients experiencing pain. Dr. Ashrafioun received his PhD in clinical psychology from Bowling Green State University, and completed his post-doctoral fellowship at the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center as part of the VA’s Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment program.
Dr. Katherine Marks is the Project Director for the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort, a SAMHSA-funded federal grant to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. As the Project Director, she is responsible for oversight, planning, and coordination to reduce opioid – related overdose rates and increase access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support. Dr. Marks is also a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at the University of Kentucky and has worked in the substance abuse research field for ten years. Her research has spanned the translation spectrum from preclinical research studying computational models of addiction to behavioral pharmacology in the human laboratory. Currently, her research focuses on women recovering from opioid use disorders, recovery of physical health, and reduced risk of HIV/HCV transmission among opioid – injecting women. Dr. Marks also teaches graduate courses in Dependency Behavior and Methods and Technologies in Clinical and Translational Science. Dr. Marks received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Murray State University, a Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology from American University, and a doctorate in Experimental Psychology from the University of Kentucky. She also completed a Graduate Certificate in Clinical and Translational Science and has served as an ad-hoc reviewer for several journals including Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, Translational Issues in Psychological Science, and Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.