Almost a quarter of US citizens who commit suicide are drunk when they do it, according to a new study. Portland State University researchers analyzed the blood-alcohol levels of suicide victims across 16 states and found that out of 58,000 cases, 22% were considered drunk when they died. These people are more likely to use violent means such as hanging themselves, shooting themselves, or jumping to their death compared to those who take their own lives while sober. 17% of women and 24% of men who killed themselves were considered intoxicated by legal standards, with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.08 g/dL. “This is the largest study to date in the US that looked at blood alcohol levels at the time of death,” says lead researcher Dr. Mark Kaplan. “Most studies in the past have focused on the risk of suicide among people with chronic alcohol problems like alcoholism or alcohol dependence.” The highest rates of drunk suicides were among those from rural areas, young men, veterans and American Indians/Alaska Natives, and the suicide rate is four times higher for men than for women. “When you look at men who die by suicide across the age span, there is a dramatic reduction in the likelihood of intoxication among older men,” says Kaplan. “For younger men, the act of dying by suicide may be more impulsive, and alcohol might facilitate the completion of that suicide. We’re more likely to see young men taking their lives in the presence of life crises such as financial problems, criminal justice problems or problems with an intimate partner. Older men are more likely to take their lives in the presence or chronic health problems.” Suicide is the 10th most common cause of death in the US.
- PepsiCo to Produce Alcoholic Beverages in Russia [Drinks Business Review]
- Alcohol and Drug Problems Would be Categorized Differently in Revised Manual [Washington Post]
- Mexico Suspects Cartel in Pepsi Subsidiary Attacks [Associated Press]
- Let Them Drink at 18, With a Learner’s Permit [New York Times]
- Girls Are 'Drinking' Like Boys [Times of India]
- $2.6 Million in Cocaine Found in British Woman's Luggage [CNN]
- Michael Lohan Suspects Lindsay Was High On Pills During SNL [Perez Hilton]
This Memorial Day, many Americans will be breaking out the backyard grills and cracking open a cold one—partaking in the timeless, and seemingly harmless, tradition of drinking and grilling. But evidence from our neighbors across the pond suggests that the booze-and-barbeque combo may be one of the most destructive—and costly—forces around: drunk UK grill jockeys have caused £617 million ($965 million USD) in damages to their own homes over the past two years, according to research compiled by insurance firm MORE TH>N. The cost includes damages to more than 1.5 million buildings and pieces of furniture caused by BBQ lovers attempting to cook under the influence, leaving their homes charred in the process. On average, women wreaked more damage than men, averaging about £525 ($823 USD) in BBQ-based insurance claims, whereas men claimed an average of about £483 ($757 USD). With events such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics bringing cause for more celebration this summer, MORE TH>N is predicting UK citizens will cook up at least 900,000 seared lawns and porches by August 2012.
New Year's Eve may get a bad rap when it comes to highway safety, but Memorial Day weekend doesn't come far behind as one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road, according to statistics. The holiday, which originated as a day to commemorate our fallen soldiers, has also come to symbolize the beginning of the summer—for many revelers, this includes heavy boozing. And unfortunately, some of these drunks get behind the wheel. According to research compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which tracks car crash statistics, drunk driving fatalities are highest during the weekends of Memorial Day, Labor Day and Fourth-of-July. NHTSA reports 397 deaths from car accidents over Memorial Day Weekend in 2010, and 40% of these were alcohol-related. New Year's, Christmas and Thanksgiving are also dangerous times for drivers, according to the data. In 2010 overall, more than 10,000 people in the US died in drunk driving incidents—that's one every 51 minutes. Most of these accidents take place on the weekends and at night, and a higher proportion occur on two-lane roads, and on rainy days.
- Mexico's Front-runner Wants to Shift Focus from Nabbing Kingpins to Reducing Drug Violence [FOX News Latino]
- Women on the Rise in Mexican Drug Cartels [AFP]
- Afghan's Poppy Profit Addiction Hard to Kick [Sacramento Bee]
- 44 Children in Michigan Have Marijuana Cards [New England Cable News]
- Transpotting Crowned as Top Film [UKPA]
- Teenage Obama Embraced 'Total Absorption' When Smoking Marijuana as a Teen [Catholic Online]
- Naked Man killed by Police Near MacArthur Causeway Was ‘Eating’ Face Off Victim [Miami Herald]
Yesterday marked the end of the 24-day, 3,000-mile All Rise America! National Motorcyle Relay for Recovery in Washington, DC, a cross-country trip organized by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) to raise awareness of drug courts, which divert addicts from prison to treatment. The ride included a rotating cast of military veterans, law-enforcement professionals and court staff.
US Attorney General Eric Holder—just a day after he delivered the commencement address to Harvard Law School’s class of 2012—attended All Rise America’s closing event at the DC Superior Courthouse. “I am speaking now to a group of graduates who are just as important,” Holder said, to about 30 individuals who had had successfully completed DC’s drug-court program. “You all have the capacity to change not only your lives but this community and this nation as well.”
During the graduation, Holder was presented with the All Rise Gavel, which had been handed off 30 times during the motorcyle relay—in cities from Flagstaff, Ariz., to Nashville—as a symbol of what can be accomplished when justice and treatment professionals work together to get addicted people the help that they need. Drug courts “are an essential part of our larger national strategy for ensuring public safety, protecting the American people from crime and violence, and giving better outcomes for those involved with the criminal justice system,” said the attorney general. “This administration, and my boss, President Obama, remain deeply committed to expanding them.”
To learn more about drug courts, visit the NADCP’s website.
West Huddleston is CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.