Unexplained Sudden Death and the Likelihood of Drug Abuse

    Volume 50, Issue 2 (March 2005)

    ISSN: 0022-1198

    CODEN: JFSOAD

    Published Online: 1 March 2005

    Page Count: 4


    Gruszecki, AC
    Forensic Pathology Fellow, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner's Office, Birmingham, AL

    Robinson, CA
    Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

    Davis, GG
    Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama and Associate Coroner/Medical Examiner, Jefferson County, AL

    McGwin, G
    Associate Professor, Center for Injury Sciences, Section of Trauma, Burns, and Surgical Critical Care, Department of Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

    (Received 24 April 2004; accepted 25 September 2004)

    Abstract

    The common history of drug abuse in adults with an undetermined cause of death has led us to hypothesize that chronic drug abuse increases the risk of sudden death. To begin evaluating this hypothesis, we conducted a retrospective case-control study of 61 decedents whose cause of death remained undetermined following autopsy matched one to one to a control group of pedestrians or passengers killed in motor vehicle collisions. In 21 pairs, the case subject had evidence of drug abuse but the control did not, and in 5 cases the reverse was true. Analysis showed that individuals with an undetermined cause of death are 4.2 times more likely to have evidence of drug abuse than are victims of a motor vehicle collision.


    Paper ID: JFS2004170

    DOI: 10.1520/JFS2004170

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    Title Unexplained Sudden Death and the Likelihood of Drug Abuse
    Symposium , 0000-00-00
    Committee E30