Use of alcohol before suicide in the United States. Academic Article uri icon


  • Few studies have compared acute use of alcohol in suicide decedents with that in a nonsuicide group. This study provides the first national analysis of acute use of alcohol before suicide compared with an estimate of acute use of alcohol in a living sample.Pooled 2003-2011 National Violent Death Reporting System data were used to estimate the prevalence of postmortem blood alcohol content positivity (blood alcohol content >0.0 g/dL) and intoxication (blood alcohol content ≥0.08 g/dL). Population estimates of comparable use of alcohol (within the past 48 hours) were based on the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.Compared with the living sample, male and female suicide decedents showed, respectively, a 1.83-fold (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.73-1.93) and 2.40-fold (95% CI, 2.24-2.57) increased risk of alcohol ingestion before their death after age, race/ethnicity, and chronic alcohol problems were controlled. Furthermore, male and female decedents exhibited, respectively, a 6.18-fold (95% CI, 5.57-6.86) and a 10.04-fold (95% CI, 8.67-11.64) increased risk of being intoxicated before their death after confounders were considered.The findings underscore the crucial need to include among the essential components of suicide prevention policies programs that minimize the use of alcohol, particularly drinking to intoxication.Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • August 2014