Study finds alcohol-involvement in significant proportion of homicide victims in the U.S.

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While the association between alcohol and homicide may seem obvious, there has been no recent study of alcohol involvement in homicide victimization in U.S. states. This study drills down into the subject, looking at how often alcohol was involved in homicide victimization, and what socio-demographic and other factors may be predictors.

Researchers accessed data from the CDC's National Violent Death Reporting System, which looks at personal and preceding circumstances - including blood alcohol content (BAC) - of violent deaths. Records from 17 states for 2010-2012 were analyzed to identify factors associated with the odds of homicide victims having a BAC equal to or greater than 0.08 percent.

Results showed that alcohol was present in a significant proportion of homicide victims in the United States: among all homicide victims, 39.9% had a positive BAC (including 26.2%, about two-thirds, who had a BAC of greater than or equal to 0.08%, the legal limit for drunk driving). Predictors of homicide victims having a BAC equal to or greater than 0.08% included being male (which doubled the risk), being of American Indian/Alaska Native or Hispanic race/ethnicity, and having a history of domestic violence. The authors recommend additional research on linkages between state-level alcohol policies and alcohol-involvement by both perpetrators and victims of homicide.

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