Volume 23, Issue 3 (July 1978)
Alcohol-Associated Deaths in the District of Columbia—A Postmortem Study
Accurate determination of the numbers and types of alcohol-associated deaths in the community has proven almost as difficult as defining alcoholism itself. The major reason for this difficulty has been the lack of suitable methods for obtaining comprehensive information concerning the multifaceted relationship between alcohol and mortality . Most epidemiological research on the subject has relied on data from death certificates, a notoriously unreliable measurement criterion. Investigations based on blood alcohol concentration have usually focused on a single type of fatality, traffic deaths for example, almost exclusively on victims of such events, or on the acute effects of alcohol. The bulk of other such research has been directed toward analyzing mortality rates and causes of death of persons defined, in a variety of ways, as alcoholics, on the chronic effects of alcohol abuse, and on the excess mortality of alcoholics over that of the general population .