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Alcohol and Fatal Injuries in Oklahoma:

Richard A. Goodman, Gregory R. Istre, Fred B. Jordan, Joy L. Herndon, Joseph Kelaghan

To assess the usefulness of medical examiner data in describing the relationship between alcohol use and fatal injuries, 1978-84 data from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (ME), State of Oklahoma, was examined. In each year in the study period, approximately 1,500 deaths resulted from unintentional injuries (UI) and 800 deaths resulted from intentional injuries (i.e., suicides and homicides). For persons who died on the same day they were injured, testing for blood alcohol ranged from 90% of homicide victims, to 73% of suicide victims and to 66% of UI victims. Alcohol was associated with 52% of homicides, 49% of UI and 40% of suicides. Alcohol was detected most often in samples from Hispanic men and from Native Americans of both sexes. This study suggests that state public health agencies and researchers should consider the use of ME data for epidemiologic information on the relationship between alcohol and injury-related mortality and for surveillance of these problems. (J. Stud. Alcohol 52: 156-161, 1991)