People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who took opioids or smoked were 2. 8 times more likely than those without to attempt suicide 30 years later according to a Canadian-led study.

We found that people with COPD who were regular users of opioids or daily users of cigarettes were 2. 8 times more likely to experience an attempted suicide 30 years later said senior author Dr. Dennis Morris of Memorial University in B. C. who runs the UCLA Lung Institute.

PHOTO: Former professional soccer player Gareth Wiedey of the LA Galaxy of California looks gloomy in a virtual photo montage(. . . ) more than a decade after he suffered a severe lung injury. Wiedey went into the hospital with a broken pelvis and left leg after falling and breaking his pelvis bone during a soccer game in the United States. He required partial lung transplantation and spent most of the next six months on a blood thinner and an artificial lung device.

Between January 1997 and December 2016 Wiedey was scheduled for surgery for a hip replacement. Neither his surgeon Dr. Lowell Schwartz from St. Louis Missouri nor his fiance accepted him into the hospital.

From that point on he worked lived and breathed from his home in Samy Alman a rural prairie suburb 180 miles (270 km) to the Golden Gate Bridge. He filmed his life with a friend from across Southern Californias Marin County as well as in an online picture diary from his time outside.

For most of that time he wasnt serious about using the illicit street drug fentanyl. In the late 2000s he used it as a painkiller; the next year he acquired a heroin paraphernalia – a mechanism to turn heroin from a street drug into a lethal anesthetic.

However he hesitated to seek treatment because of concerns that morphine might not be able to treat his pain. He smoked about once a day spent about three hours a night in his bedroom and spent about four months smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. He wasnt sober at the end of December 2015 when he threatened suicide.

With management strategies such as time off work regular pain control sessions and monitoring his diet he avoided dependence on opioids. He took a month to recover from his vertebrae fracture and had improvements in his heart function and fatigue he told Reuters Health by phone.

I didnt really see a difference until I started using narcotics he said. It was obvious after my first hit with them.

At that point he said he felt anxious nervous and uncomfortables. He knew he needed to resurface as soon as possible.

He decided to look at saved lung cancer patients data and find those who had tried opioids or smoked cigarettes. Data was available for almost 30 years including four decades from the Los Angeles Public Health Division. He gathering estimates for the early 2000s for each drug-impaired lung cancer patient.

He found that nearly half (40000) died starting in 2016. So he expertly worked with data from the CDC to estimate-using only a persons biggest risk factor – the incidence of all the sudden deaths of any drug-impaired lung cancer (especially opioids). Among the 30 years of data data from 1999 to 2008 4. 8 percent (39000) of all deaths occurred before clinical trials of any of the drugs.

Those made among the most attempt at suicide were Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and Northwestern in Chicago.

I have to say that to my many sad and disappointed patients I absolutely believed that if they got into opioids or smoked cigarettes they would die for a lot longer he told Reuters Health by phone. The industry is a lot bigger now than it was 25 years ago and I dont think anyone realized that.

He also remembered wrenching with some of the early proselytizing given the growing national epidemic of opioid addiction.

The sheer volume of overdoses composed almost entirely of opioids came as a pleasant surprise to me he said. But as more studies are pointed to lay users as well as non-users in cases of naloxone he said the tide seemed to turn against them.

That was the tipping point he added. During this crisis the community did not emphasize treatment for patients as much as we did 25 years ago.

Hed like to see naloxone get into the hands of naloxone access providers especially by trauma providers and medical school departments where