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Racial Differences Evident in Alcohol-Related Suicides

Last Updated: June 22, 2009.

There are significant racial and ethnic variations in the burden of alcohol-attributable suicides in the United States, according to a study published in the June 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

MONDAY, June 22 (HealthDay News) -- There are significant racial and ethnic variations in the burden of alcohol-attributable suicides in the United States, according to a study published in the June 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Alex E. Crosby, M.D., and colleagues at the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in Atlanta, analyzed 2005 to 2006 data from the National Violent Death Reporting System to assess the relationship between suicide and alcohol in different racial and ethnic populations. The sample comprised 18,994 suicides that occurred in 17 states. Laboratory data, medical and law enforcement officials' judgment, and questions to the next of kin were the sources of alcohol-related information.

According to the data, among suicide decedents who were tested for alcohol intoxication, almost 24 percent had a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08 g/dL, the legal limit. The majority of the cases were American Indian or Alaska Natives, accounting for 37 percent of the total, while 29 percent were Hispanic, the investigators found.

"These results indicate that many populations can benefit from comprehensive and culturally appropriate suicide-prevention strategies that include efforts to reduce alcohol consumption, especially programs that focus on persons aged greater than 50 years," the authors conclude.

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