Number and type of substances in alcohol and drug-related completed suicides in an Australian sample

Crisis. 2006;27(2):72-6. doi: 10.1027/0227-5910.27.2.72.


Background: The association between substance use and suicide is well-established, but evidence is scant regarding the relationship between the number, type, and level of substances and other risk factors in completed suicide across the lifespan.

Aims: To examine the relationship between social/demographic characteristics and the number, type, and level of drugs present in an unrestricted age sample of completed suicides in Australia.

Method: An analysis was undertaken of 893 substance-related suicides using data from the Government Statistician's Office for the years 1989-1992.

Results: The number and type of substances present in suicide victims was related to the individuals' gender, age, marital status, employment status, and method of suicide. Blood alcohol level was significantly different between the methods of suicide, but was unrelated to demographic characteristics of the individual. The level of antidepressants and minor tranquilizers in the individuals was also unrelated to demographic characteristics.

Conclusion: Examination of the type and number of substances present in completed suicides is an important component in creating profiles of potential suicide victims.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / mortality*
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Anxiety Agents / poisoning
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / poisoning
  • Cause of Death*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*


  • Anti-Anxiety Agents
  • Antidepressive Agents