Drug and alcohol use by homicide victims in Trinidad and Tobago, 2001-2007

Joseph B. Kuhns, Edward R. Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper examines toxicology results from homicide victims in Trinidad and Tobago to explore patterns in pre-mortem drug and alcohol use. Toxicology test results were obtained for 1,780 homicide victims. Toxicology data from the coroner's office were linked with police data on homicide incidents to examine patterns in drug use and homicide. Trinidad and Tobago homicide victims tested positive for cannabis at a significantly higher rate (32%) than the average rate among other drug toxicology studies. Victims tested positive for alcohol (29%), cocaine (7%), and opioids (1. 5%) at rates that were either comparable with or lower than those of homicide victims examined in other studies. The proportion of victims testing positive for cannabis grew significantly from 2001 to 2007; the proportions for alcohol and other drugs were fairly stable over time. Toxicology results also varied by homicide motive, weapon type, and the demographic characteristics of the victim. Toxicology data are a useful source for understanding patterns in drug use and homicide. Though such data have limitations, when combined with other types of data, they can often provide unique insights about a community's drug and violence problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-251
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Caribbean
  • Drugs
  • Homicide
  • Toxicology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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