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Alcohol use by suicide victims in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2011-2015.

Research paper by Raphael Eduardo Marques REM Gonçalves, Júlio de Carvalho JC Ponce, Vilma V Leyton

Indexed on: 05 Dec '17Published on: 05 Dec '17Published in: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine



Abstract

Excessive alcohol consumption is a serious public health issue, because drunkenness affects critical judgment and self-control which could trigger violent and self-harm behavior, with thus a potential association between alcohol consumption and suicide deaths. The objective of the present study was to assess the association between alcohol consumption and suicide deaths in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, from 2011 to 2015, and its relationship with socio-demographic characteristics of the victims and the circumstances of the suicide. A cross-sectional retrospective study was conducted by collection of data from 1,700 suicide victims subjected to examination of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from toxicology reports from the Institute of Legal Medicine of the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Alcohol was detected in blood samples of 30.2% of the victims and mean BAC levels were 1.73 ± 0.08 g/L. The mean age of the victims was 39.90 ± 0.75 years. The majority of the victims were male (74.6%) and the prevalence of positive BAC was higher amongst men (34.7%) than women (17.1%), p<0.05. The majority of the victims were white skinned (64.7%), but there was a higher proportion of victims with positive BAC among mulatto and black individuals, p<0.05. Hanging was the most prevalent suicide method in the sample (48.7%) and amongst men (55.4%), but amongst women it was jumping from a height (35%), p < 0.05.