It is a dark topic, but the issue of suicide in Colorado cannot be ignored. Every day in Colorado, three people take their own life.

Colorado ranks 9th in the nation in suicide rates. The Colorado Health Institute says the southwest corner of the state, including Mesa, Delta, and Montrose counties, continue to have the highest suicide rate in the entire state.

According to the Department of Public Health, in 2017, a total of 23 Colorado children between the ages of 10 and 14 took their own life. Additionally, 169 individuals in Colorado between the ages of 15 and 24 committed suicide last year. In all, more than 1,100 Coloradans died by suicide in 2017.

While each case may be different and unique, there is some commonality. A recent study by the state health department revealed a disturbing trend. One in three suicides in Colorado was followed by a bout of binge drinking. That means the amount of alcohol in their system was above the legal limit of 0.08%.

The five-year study also revealed that half of all the people who committed suicide while intoxicated had experienced previous problems with alcohol.

The question the study ask is, "if we reduce excessive drinking, could we reduce the number of alcohol-involved suicides?". Drugs and alcohol reduce inhibitions and cloud judgment. People under the influence are not thinking rationally or considering the long-term implications of their actions.

Think about it. Every day in Colorado, three people take their own life. That number is staggering and heartbreaking. So many hurting people whose lives are ending prematurely, and so many families dealing with the aftermath of suicide. In many cases, there is a direct link between excessive alcohol and the act of suicide.

Colorado does have a crisis hotline with trained counselors standing by for online chats or by phone. (1-844-493-8255) For those that may not feel comfortable talking to someone, texting with a counselor is also an option. Text TALK to 38255.

[COLORADO SUN]