In this study, a sample of medical examiner investigative and toxicology reports from Los Angeles and Orange counties in California were available for analysis for 432 suicide cases and 193 homicide-suicide cases. This informed clearer toxicological and pharmacological distinction of suicide from homicide-suicide.
- Blood alcohol levels were higher in persons committing suicide than in homicide-suicide perpetrators (p=.004).
- Homicide-suicide perpetrators had almost twice the level of stimulants in their system than people who suicide (p=.022) but did not have comparatively elevated levels of drugs or alcohol.
Predictors of suicide included the following:
- substance abuse history,
- high number of drugs in system,
- death inside a house,
- and legal impairment by alcohol.
Predictors of homicide-suicide included
- gunshot as the cause of death,
- female gender,
- domestic conflict,
- children living in the home,
- and prior arrest for substance abuse.
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- 1School of Nursing, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ
- 2William F. Connell School of Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA.
- 3The Forensic Panel, New York, NY.