Manners of Death in Drug-Related Fatalities in Florida

Dayong Lee, Chris Delcher, Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Jon R. Thogmartin, Bruce A. Goldberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


To understand the mortality patterns among drug users and potential risk factors, we evaluated drug-related deaths reported to the Florida Medical Examiners Commission from 2001 to 2013, by substances, demographics, and manner of death. The annual drug-related fatalities increased by 57% from 2001 to 2013 (total n = 100,882); 51.8% were accidental, 7.9% homicide, 18.6% natural, and 19.6% suicide. The different manners of death exhibited distinct demographic profiles and drug composition. The gender gap was more prominent in homicide. Age ≥55 years was more closely associated with natural death and suicide. Age <35 years and central nervous system (CNS) stimulants including amphetamines and cocaine showed higher relative risks for accidental death and homicide, whereas CNS depressants including benzodiazepines, carisoprodol, opioids, and zolpidem were more strongly associated with accidental death and/or suicide. The findings aid in identifying populations more vulnerable to drug-related deaths, developing targeted interventions and thereby improving efficiency of preventive efforts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-742
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.


  • Accidental deaths
  • Drug-related mortality
  • Forensic science
  • Homicide deaths
  • Natural deaths
  • Suicide deaths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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