Author(s): Bilban M, Skibin L
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Abstract A number of studies have established a strong connection between acute inebriation, alcohol addiction and suicides, as the last act of alcoholism or an act of desperation in an alcoholic's family, an act of escape from restraints in state of depression or as a way of self-destruction. In recent years in average 600 people per year committed suicide. Slovenia is a country with extremely high and variable suicide tendencies and harmful alcohol use levels, as well as a high level of alcohol-related troubles. The aim of our research was to ascertain some typical features, especially those connected to the inebriation of suicide victims from a wider Ljubljana region. Autopsies were carried out on the victims in the period between 1995 and 1999. There were 508 (31.2\%) suicides among all the analyzed violent deaths; 73.2\% of them were men. The average age of the victims was 46.5 years. Most suicides were committed at home (50.0\%). 25.4\% were completely sober in the moment of the act, while in all other cases inebriation was established, the average value being 9.57 g/kg. Men were drunk in 87.1\% of cases, women only in 12.9\% and the given alcohol levels were substantially higher with men (0.65:0.26 g/kg). The share of inebriated persons decreases with age-reaching its peak in the 35-54 age group. Regarding the method, the predominant ones are intoxication and the use of firearms, which is a typical way of committing suicide among men, while women rather choose jumping from great heights and drowning. Alcohol was present in as many as 55.7\% of suicides with intoxication and in 68.8\% of all suicides committed by using firearms, while the highest alcohol levels were found in those who died from cutting their veins (2.01 g/kg). Based on this and on other research, more effort should be focused on alcohol abuse prevention, making all people aware of the consequences of alcohol abuse, the possibilities of treatment and their availability as well as possible co-morbid depressions. Simultaneously, due to an established link, the national alcohol policy and strategy for prevention of suicides should be professionally harmonized.
This article was published in Forensic Sci Int
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Research