Volume 19, Issue 2 (April 1974)
Role of Toxicology in Suicide Evaluation
It is a well-known and often stated fact that the typical suicide case is a white male, married, and between the ages of 45 and 60 years. Any forensic toxicologist who has taken the trouble to inquire as to the age, sex, and race of the suicide cases on which he is conducting toxicological tests, would probably have the impression that a typical suicide would fall into a category other than that stated above. In Virginia, certainly, it has been our experience that most suicides by ingestion of a toxic substance were committed by females, rather than males, marital status being uncertain, but the age probably lower than that for the general suicide population. Not until 1972 when the publication of the Vital Statistics of the United States for 1968  became available, was it possible to look critically at the nature of the suicide population, particularly those due to ingestion of solid and liquid substances. For the first time in that year, a breakdown by age and sex was made, which enabled correlations to be made with suicides in general, suicides by ingestion of solid and liquid substances, suicides by ingestion of drugs, or suicides by exposure to carbon monoxide.