Caetano and his colleagues used data derived from the 2003-2009 NVDRS, analyzing sociodemographic and toxicological information for 59,384 suicide decedents from 16 states. Acute alcohol intoxication at the time of death was defined as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) equal to or greater than 0.08.
"We showed considerable differences across ethnic groups in the association between alcohol intoxication and suicide and types of suicide," said Caetano, professor of epidemiology at the UT School of Public Health. "Although alcohol intoxication is important for all groups, American Indians are much more at risk than other groups."
Zemore added, "This study is consistent with the larger literature suggesting that more than a third of those committing suicide use alcohol prior to the event. The study also extends the literature by showing that alcohol use and intoxication prior to suicide is particularly prevalent among American Indian and Alaskan Native populations and, to some extent, Latinos, compared to Whites, but less prevalent among Blacks and Asians. Finally, this article highlights the fact that suicide is a particular problem among young American Indian and Alaskan Native people. In this sample, 22 percent of those completing suicide were under 21, and half were under 29."
The authors suggest that alcohol-related prevention strategies focus on suicide as a consequence of alcohol use, especially among American Indian and Alaskan Native youth and young adults.
"These associations indicate that heavier drinkers are more at risk and should be targeted for prevention efforts," said Caetano. "Alcohol treatment facilities should focus on suicide, and be aware of the potential risk that their clients have in regard to suicide. Clinicians working with heavier drinkers, especially those who are depressed, should be aware of the increased risk
|Contact: Stephanie Logue|
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston