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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • hanging;
  • suicide;
  • alcohol;
  • intoxication;
  • disinhibition;
  • risk factor

Abstract:  Retrospective review of 100 consecutive, nondecomposed cases of suicide because of hanging was conducted at Forensic Science SA, Australia. Alcohol was detected in 38 cases (38%). The percentage of victims who had ingested alcohol significantly decreased with age (r2 = 0.81), with alcohol detected in 57.1% of those aged ≤24 years, compared to 28.5% of those aged between 55 and 64 years, and 0% of those aged ≥65 years. A similar linear relationship between alcohol ingestion and age was found for cases with blood alcohol levels >0.05 g/100 mL (r2 = 0.73). The mean ages of those with detectable alcohol (35.2 years) levels >0.05 g/100 mL (35.1 years) and levels >0.1 g/100 mL (37.2 years) were all significantly less than in those with no detectable alcohol (44.4 years) (p < 0.005, <0.005, <0.05 respectively). A clear relationship between alcohol ingestion and younger age was shown in hanging suicides.