Vegas Is US Suicide Capital

Residents about 50% more likely to die by own hand; visiting increases risk for out-of-staters
By Green Point,  Newser User
Posted Dec 11, 2008 3:54 PM CST
Tourists watch the fountains of the Bellagio hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Dec. 3, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Being in Las Vegas is quite a gamble: The risk of committing suicide for Sin City residents is twice as high as in the rest of the US, a recent study finds—with its 40 million annual visitors at even greater risk. But Harvard sociologists noted that those odds for Vegas dwellers drop if residents move away or go on vacation, NPR reports.

But the town is not to blame, says one researcher, who believes the suicidal choose to travel to or live in Vegas. The county coroner denies the high rate is a reaction to gambling losses: People go there instead to have a final “hooray.” Preventive measures should be reinforced, an ex-resident and sociologist says, such as safeguarding gun access and training doctors to recognize suicidal behavior.