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NCJ Number: 220585 Find in a Library
Title: Editorial: In the Coroner's Chair--Substance Misuse and Suicide in Young People: Have We Got the Focus Right?
Journal: Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health  Volume:17  Issue:4  Dated:2007  Pages:197-203
Author(s): Ian Smith; Ilana B. Crome
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 7
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This editorial examines the current status of coroner investigations of deaths from drugs, alcohol, and suicide in England and Wales, with attention to the jurisdiction of North Staffordshire.
Abstract: The population of North Staffordshire represents approximately 1 percent of the population of England and Wales. In 2005, deaths in North Staffordshire represented 1.72 percent of all deaths referred to coroners in England and Wales, and the inquests composed 1.63 percent of all inquests. Deaths from drug abuse, which invariably involve heroin in all age groups, typically occur in older age groups. Only 6 of the 23 drug-related deaths in 2005 involved individuals under 30 years old, and only 2 were under 25 years old. In order to keep these deaths in perspective, during the same period individuals under 30 years old were much more likely to die from a traffic accident. In suicide cases, evidence of intent must be present and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. This can be difficult in some drug overdose cases, i.e., was it suicide or a cry for help? Perhaps a more accurate and socially acceptable verdict for suicide cases might be that "the deceased died as a result of self-harm," avoiding the need to prove the intention to kill oneself; however, it remains necessary for a coroner's verdict of suicide to address intent. The most vulnerable group for suicide consists of men between 40 and 60 years old. The highest rates for alcohol-related deaths are for men between the ages of 55 and 74; however, from 1991 to 2005, alcohol-related deaths increased in the 15-34 age group. In young men, it almost doubled from 116 to 192 annually. Coroners have not received sufficient resources from the government to analyze trends in deaths due to various causes. The ability to calculate such trends is important for the identification of public health issues. 4 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Death investigations; Drug overdose; Drug related fatalities; Juvenile suicide; Underage Drinking; Victims in foreign countries
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