Volume 40, Issue 3 (May 1995)

    Cocaine, Opiates, and Ethanol in Homicides in New York City: 1990 and 1991

    (Received 5 August 1994; accepted 17 August 1994)

    CODEN: JFSOAD

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    Abstract

    Studies using medical examiner cases are useful in monitoring drug use in special populations. This study assesses the presence of cocaine and its metabolite, benzoylecgonine (BE), opiates and ethanol in all homicide victims who were injured and who survived two hours or less after injury in 1990 and 1991 in New York City. There were 2824 homicides in the study period and cocaine and/or BE were found in 884 (31.3%) of cases. In over half of the cases positive for cocaine/BE, ethanol or opiates were found. African-Americans and Latinos were much more likely than whites or Asians to be positive for cocaine/BE. There were no differences between men and women in regard to being positive for cocaine/BE. Cocaine/BE was most frequently identified among victims 25 to 44 years of age. Males were more likely to be positive for ethanol. There were no differences among age groups or ethnic groups in regard to ethanol except for a very low ethanol incidence among Asians. Victims positive for cocaine/BE were more likely to be killed with firearms in open places. The percentage of victims positive for cocaine/BE remains approximately that found by other studies in the late 1980s, however, the percentage of opiate-positive homicides seems to be increasing. Opiates usually were found with cocaine/BE. Two-thirds of the cocaine and/or BE positive cases had cocaine present, thus they were under the influence of the drug at the time they were injured. The authors discuss how the use of cocaine, ethanol and opiates may be related to one's becoming a homicide victim.


    Author Information:

    Leon, AC
    Professor, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Data Analyst, and Research Assistant, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York

    Hirsch, CS
    Chief Medical Examiner and Director of Toxicology, Office of Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, New York, New York

    Tardiff, K
    Professor, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Data Analyst, and Research Assistant, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York

    Portera, L
    Professor, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Data Analyst, and Research Assistant, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York

    Stajić, M
    Chief Medical Examiner and Director of Toxicology, Office of Chief Medical Examiner of New York City, New York, New York

    Hartwell, N
    Professor, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Data Analyst, and Research Assistant, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York

    Marzuk, PM
    Professor, Assistant Professor, Assistant Professor, Senior Data Analyst, and Research Assistant, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York


    Stock #: JFS13792J

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS13792J

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    Author
    Title Cocaine, Opiates, and Ethanol in Homicides in New York City: 1990 and 1991
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30