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Victim of violent death: what is the role of alcoholemia?

Published on: 25th August, 2021

OCLC Number/Unique Identifier: 9206121369

Introduction: The tendency to impulsive behaviors and/or violence is exacerbated after alcohol consumption. Still, the relation between alcohol/violent deaths reported in the literature is not accurate, and in general, alcohol is only seen as a trigger to aggressive actions. The relationship of the victims with their blood alcohol is less studied. They were especially concerned about the role of alcohol as a risk factor for victims of unnatural death. Thus, our goal is to check the influence of alcohol in victims of violent deaths as homicides, suicides, and accidents. Materials and methods: Retrospectively the medical records of 805 autopsies performed at the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IML) of Franco da Rocha, in the period 2001 to 2017 were reviewed. The variables studied were sex, age, types of violent death rates, and alcohol - these were considered positive when above 0.3 mg/ml. The dosage of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was performed using samples of 10 ml of blood collected at necropsy, is preferably taken from the cardiac chambers or of the right femoral vein. Dosages of alcohol in blood samples were done in the Forensic Toxicology Center of the IML by gas chromatography, using the technique of separation “headspace” and double column. Results: Drug testing for alcohol was available for 488 (79.1%) of 617 necropsies. Of the 617 subjects studied, 532 (85.7%) were male, and 85 (13.8%) were females (with high rates of adolescents). The vast majority (n = 230) were killed, and 40.5% of victims had BAC above 0.3 mg/ml of blood. Traffic accidents came next, accounting for 181 deaths, with 41% of victims presenting positive BAC. Discussion: High blood alcohol levels of the victims were associated mainly with the genesis of accidents (drowning, falls, traffic, aspiration/ smothering) and murder (with impaired ability to resist or by causing the release of impulses to engage in violent situations), about 40% of cases. Conclusion: Our results indicate that alcohol abuse is a risk factor for victims of violent death. In these cases, alcohol has two types of action. Direct: contributes to accidents of various kinds - from traffic by decreasing powers of concentration, attention, and loss of reflexes, to other types of accidents such as drowning, falls, swallowing disorders causing airway obstruction, and mechanical asphyxia. And they were indirect, making it easier for individuals to engage in conflict (and thus become victims of crimes).
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