Gender differences in the presence of drugs in violent deaths

Connor M. Sheehan, Richard G. Rogers, George W. Williams, Jason D. Boardman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: To investigate differences in the presence of drugs, by gender, when considering deaths attributable to homicides and suicides. Design: Logistic regression analysis of mortality data collected by the Colorado Violent Death Reporting System. Participants and setting: A total of 5791 Colorado decedents who died of violent causes from 2004 to 2009. Measurement: Forensic pathologist autopsy data on drug presence at time of death, coded as present, not present or missing. Findings: Postmortem presence of drugs is associated strongly with the specific cause of violent death. Compared with suicide decedents, homicide decedents are significantly more likely to test positive for amphetamines [odds ratio (OR): 1.79; confidence interval (CI): 1.34, 2.39], marijuana (OR: 2.03; CI: 1.60, 2.58) and cocaine (OR: 2.60; CI: 2.04, 3.31), and are less likely to test positive for opiates (OR: 0.27; CI: 0.18, 0.39) and antidepressants (OR: 0.17; CI: 0.10, 0.28). When other drugs are controlled for the influence of alcohol is abated dramatically. The patterns of drug prevalence associated with homicide (particularly marijuana) are stronger among males; the patterns of drug prevalence associated with suicide are stronger among females. Conclusions: Suicide and homicide decedents are characterized by varying patterns of licit and illicit drug use that differ by gender. Drugs associated with homicide (marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines) are stronger among males, while drugs associated with suicide are stronger among females (antidepressants and opiates). Taking these differences into consideration may allow for targeted interventions to reduce violent deaths.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-555
Number of pages9
JournalAddiction
Volume108
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Homicide
Suicide
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Odds Ratio
Confidence Intervals
Opiate Alkaloids
Cannabis
Amphetamines
Cocaine
Antidepressive Agents
Street Drugs
Cause of Death
Autopsy
Logistic Models
Regression Analysis
Alcohols
Mortality

Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Gender
  • Homicide
  • Illicit drugs
  • Suicide
  • Violent death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Gender differences in the presence of drugs in violent deaths. / Sheehan, Connor M.; Rogers, Richard G.; Williams, George W.; Boardman, Jason D.

In: Addiction, Vol. 108, No. 3, 01.03.2013, p. 547-555.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sheehan, Connor M. ; Rogers, Richard G. ; Williams, George W. ; Boardman, Jason D. / Gender differences in the presence of drugs in violent deaths. In: Addiction. 2013 ; Vol. 108, No. 3. pp. 547-555.
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