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Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), overdose, and suicide are urgent, related, public health challenges that have consequences for us all.

These issues are preventable.

Scroll down to learn how we can address today’s crises while preventing tomorrow’s.

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ACEs, overdose, and suicide are urgent public health challenges.

Spotlights on ACEs, Overdose, and Suicide

Listen to an expert’s perspective:

Mighty Fine, MPH, CHES
Director of Public Health Practice, American Public Health Association


Child sitting on the floor with head down and arms crossed

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood. ACEs can include experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect, witnessing violence in the home or community, or having a family member attempt or die
by suicide.


Person standing in a pill bottle

Drug overdose is the poisoning that happens when a drug is taken in excessive amounts. An overdose can be fatal or nonfatal, and all overdoses come with their own emotional and economic tolls.



Dying by suicide continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States. Suicidal ideation and attempts are also on the rise.

ACEs, overdose, and suicide are related public health challenges.

Venn Diagram with intersection of ACES, Overdose, and Suicide

ACEs, suicide, and overdose are related issues. Exposure to ACEs is associated with increased risk of overdose and suicide later in life.

Click the intersections in the graphic to explore the dangerous overlaps in these three related issues.

ACEs are associated with increased risk of overdose later in life and are associated with younger opioid initiation, injection drug use, and lifetime overdose.1

Experiencing any ACE is associated with an increased risk for suicide; the odds of ever attempting suicide are 30 times higher for adults with four or more ACEs compared to adults with no ACEs.2

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) involving prescription drugs is associated with an increase of 40 to 60% in the risk of suicidal ideation.3

ACEs are associated with increased risk of overdose and suicide later in life. For children, losing a loved one to suicide or overdose is an ACE. Experiencing these is associated with increased risk of future overdose or suicide.

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1 2 3 4 Overdose Suicide ACEs Understanding Understanding Understanding


ACEs, overdose, and suicide are preventable public health challenges.

Listen to an expert’s perspective:

Deputy Director, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC

Some strategies focus on prevention through system-level changes, public education, and implementation of policies and programs based on the best available evidence.

Using collaborative strategies

Successful approaches often require collaboration with other sectors to address these complex and related challenges appropriately.

Greater impact happens when there is alignment between policy, funding, and programs that addresses these three issues together, rather than some current efforts which focus on each issue individually.

Together, we can shrink the impact of these three interrelated issues.

Addressing today’s crises and preventing tomorrow’s.

We need a coordinated approach to address the interrelated crises of exposure to ACEs, overdose, and suicide to:

Silouette of head with light bulb
Increase understanding and coordination across these treatment and prevention fields.
Group of people standing together
Engage a broad movement of champions and change agents in communities.
Scales of justice
Ensure equity in policies, programs, and services while reducing disparities.
Magnifying glass
Invest in research and evaluation to better understand what works when combating these challenges, why those approaches work, and for whom they work.
Research paper
Implement successful treatment and prevention strategies and adapt them for specific cultural contexts.