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J Forensic Leg Med. 2011 Oct;18(7):299-301. doi: 10.1016/j.jflm.2011.06.002. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Causes of community suicides among indigenous South Australians.

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Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology, Level 3 Medical School North Building, The University of Adelaide, Frome Rd, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.


A retrospective review of suicides occurring among Aboriginal people in the community in South Australia over a 5-year period was undertaken from January 2005 to December 2009. Twenty-eight cases were identified, consisting of 21 males (age range 16-44 years, mean 29.9 years) and 7 females (age range 23-45 years, mean 32.0 years). Deaths in all cases were caused by hanging (100%). Toxicological evaluation of blood revealed alcohol (39.3% of cases), cannabinoids (39.3%), benzodiazepines (10.7%), opiates (7.1%), antidepressants (7.1%), amphetamines (3.6%) and volatiles (3.6%). This study has demonstrated that the method of suicide overwhelmingly preferred by indigenous victims in South Australia is hanging. The precise reasons for this preference are uncertain, however, an indigenous person in South Australia presenting as a suicide where a method other than hanging has been used would be exceedingly uncommon, raising the possibility of alternative manners of death.

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