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Keywords:

  • homicide;
  • toxicology;
  • substance use;
  • mortality;
  • violence

Abstract

Issues. The toxicology of homicide offenders and victims, and homicide as a cause of death among psychoactive substance users. Approach. Review of the toxicology of homicide, and homicide as a cause of death among psychoactive substance users. Key Findings. A half or more of offenders are intoxicated by a psychoactive substance at the time of the homicide, with alcohol the most commonly reported substance. Levels of substances among victims are comparable with those seen among perpetrators. Among both offenders and victims, levels of substances far exceed population use. Among substance users, homicide specific mortality rates of substance users far exceed population rates. Reducing rates of alcohol and other drug consumption, at national and individual levels, can be expected to substantially reduce rates of, and risk for, homicide. Conclusions and Implications. Psychoactive substances are strongly associated with homicide. One of the major societal benefits that can be derived from active attempts to reduce alcohol and other drug use are reductions in homicide rates.[Darke S. The toxicology of homicide offenders and victims: A review. Drug Alcohol Rev 2009]