Forensic Toxicology Analysis of Suicidal Hanging Deaths in Eastern Province-Saudi Arabia
Keywords:Alcohol; suicides; hanging; toxicology, deaths
Background: Suicide is a multifaceted phenomenon with multiple underlying risk factors, including alcohol
and/or abuse of other drugs and psychiatric illnesses. Toxicological analysis is of crucial importance even in
hanging deaths where the cause of death seems to be ‘obvious’. Objective: To investigate hanging suicide
deaths, focusing on toxicological findings in their postmortem specimens, over a period of six years in the
Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. Methods: The suicidal hanging deaths in the period from 2014 to 2019
were retrospectively studied from autopsy and toxicology analysis reports. Results: Of the investigated 75
hanging suicides, 64 (85.3%) were males and 11 (14.7%) were females. Most of the cases were in the age
group between 31 and 40 years of age (36%). Non-Saudi nationals (57, 76%) much prevailed over Saudi
people (18, 24%) and the highest is the Indian population (27, 36%), followed by Saudi nationals (18, 24%).
Ethanol was the commonest detected substance in the studied specimens (45, 60%). Cannabis ranked the
second (14, 18.6%) followed by antipsychotic drugs (10, 13.3%) and amphetamine (7, 9. 3%).Conclusion:
The precise statistical mortality database for hanging suicides deaths may provide a valuable evidence for
the importance of postmortem toxicology analysis and the role of alcohol and its effect on the aggressive
behavior, human health and mortality. In the current study, Ethanol was the highest detected substance in the
studied specimens (45, 60%), with predominance of non-Saudi Indian males.
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