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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1080/15563650.2020.1789653

Trends and characteristics in barbiturate deaths Australia 2000-2019: a national retrospective study.

04 Mar 2021-Clinical Toxicology (Taylor & Francis)-Vol. 59, Iss: 3, pp 224-230
Abstract: There have been increasing reports documenting barbiturate-related deaths, despite routine prescribing for only relatively rare indications. The aims of the current study were to examine trends in ...

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Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.PUHIP.2021.100181
01 Nov 2021-
Abstract: Background Kuwait is an Arabian Gulf couFntry with a population of around 4.4 million as of 2020. In recent years, government based news agencies have commonly exposed drug smuggling plots that were foiled by local authorities. We attempted to study the patterns of drug overdose deaths in Kuwait, which we believe is a good method to address the effect of illicit drug use in the country. Methodology All cases that were signed out as drug overdose death were collected from the General department of criminal evidence. The relationship between demographic factors and drug types were analyzed using various statistical methodologies. Results 344 victims were identified from 2014 to 2018. The majority of whom were Kuwaiti nationals (67%) and the average age of death was 38. Hawalli governorate had the highest number of cases, while Jahra governorate had the least. Morphine appeared to be the most common drug found in the victims post mortem (79.9%) followed by benzodiazepines (43%). Our study has an extremely low female number of victims (2.6%). Some substances that are commonly abused globally eg heroin and cocaine were rarely recovered in our study. The number of cases have had an increase over the study period with the highest number of cases in 2018. Conclusion The current study is the first of its kind in Kuwait and one of the first in the middle east region. It is evident that illicit drug use and subsequent drug overdose deaths are on a rise in Kuwait and government agencies need to put a strategic plan to address and reduce this problem.

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Topics: Drug overdose (60%), Population (51%)

Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.5694/MJA2.51306
Shane Darke1, Agata Chrzanowska1, Gabrielle Campbell2, Emma Zahra1  +1 moreInstitutions (2)
Abstract: Objectives To determine the characteristics and population rates of barbiturate-related hospitalisations, treatment episodes, and deaths in Australia, 2000-2018. Design, setting Analysis of national data on barbiturate-related hospitalisations (National Hospital Morbidity Database, 1999-2000 to 2017-18), drug treatment episodes (Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set, 2002-03 to 2017-18), and deaths (National Coronial Information System, 2000-01 to 2016-17). Main outcome measures Population rates directly age-standardised to the 2001 Australian standard population; average annual percentage change (AAPC) in rates estimated by Joinpoint regression. Results We identified 1250 barbiturate-related hospitalisations (791 cases of deliberate self-harm [63%]), 993 drug treatment episodes (195 cases with barbiturates as the principal drug of concern [20%]), and 511 deaths during the respective analysis periods. The barbiturate-related hospitalisation rate declined from 0.56 in 1999-2000 to 0.14 per 100 000 population in 2017-18 (AAPC, -6.0%; 95% CI, -7.2% to -4.8%); the declines in hospitalisations related to accidental poisoning (AAPC, -5.8%; 95% CI, -9.1% to -2.4%) and intentional self-harm (AAPC, -5.6%; 95% CI, -6.9% to -4.2%) were each statistically significant. Despite a drop from 0.67 in 2002-03 to 0.23 per 100 000 in 2003-04, the drug treatment episode rate did not decline significantly (AAPC, -6.7%; 95% CI, -16% to +4.0%). The population rate of barbiturate-related deaths increased from 0.07 in 2000-01 to 0.19 per 100 000 population in 2016-17 (AAPC, +9.3%; 95% CI, +6.2-12%); the rate of intentional self-harm deaths increased (AAPC, +11%; 95% CI, +7.4-15%), but not that of accidental deaths (AAPC, -0.3%; 95% CI, -4.1% to +3.8%). Conclusions While prescribing and community use of barbiturates has declined, the population rate of intentional self-harm using barbiturates has increased. The major harm associated with these drugs is now suicide.

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Topics: Population (54%)


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/J.LEGALMED.2021.101928
07 Jun 2021-Legal Medicine
Abstract: A study was undertaken of 51 cases where barbiturates were detected in post-mortem blood samples from 2000 to 2019 at Forensic Science South Australia, Adelaide, Australia. The cause of death was drug toxicity in only 27 (53%) (M:F = 19:8; age range 19-74yrs, mean 46yrs). In 17 cases, barbiturate toxicity was the primary cause of death, 14 due to pentobarbitone and 3 to phenobarbitone. All were suicides. Barbiturates were obtained by online purchase from overseas sources in 9 cases (33%), and through veterinary practice in 2 cases (7%). Drug toxicity deaths where barbiturates were detected rose from 1 in 2000–2004 to 11 in 2015–2019, and those where deaths were primarily due to barbiturate toxicity rose from 1 in 2000–2004 to 9 in 2015–2019. However, the mere detection of barbiturates in post mortem samples did not equate with illicit use, as 23 of the deaths (45%) were due to natural causes in individuals prescribed barbiturates for epilepsy. The usefulness of examining subset populations separate from accrued national data is also demonstrated in the significantly younger age of decedents in South Australia dying from deliberately administered barbiturates (46 yrs) compared to the national average of 57.9 yrs. The reasons for this difference will require further investigation as this may impact upon local suicide prevention strategies.

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Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/S0025-6196(12)64946-5
01 Feb 1988-
Abstract: Heart weights, ventricular wall thicknesses, and valve circumferences were measured in 765 autopsy specimens from normal hearts from persons 20 to 99 years old. Body weight was a better predictor of normal heart weight than was body surface area or height, and mean heart weights were greater in men than in women at all ages. When heart weights were indexed (divided by body surface area), the mean values per decade increased significantly in women between the 3rd and 10th decades of life ( P P

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Topics: Body surface area (55%)

417 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1016/0379-0738(90)90182-X
Derrick J. Pounder1, Graham R. Jones1Institutions (1)
Abstract: Detailed human case data is presented to illustrate the dramatic extent of the phenomenon of post-mortem drug redistribution. The data suggests that there is a post-mortem diffusion of drugs along a concentration gradient, from sites of high concentration in solid organs, into the blood with resultant artefactual elevation of drug levels in blood. Highest drug levels were found in central vessels such as pulmonary artery and vein, and lowest levels were found in peripheral vessels such as subclavian and femoral veins. In individual cases, in multiple blood samples obtained from ligated vessels, concentrations of doxepin and desmethyldoxepin ranged from 3.6 to 12.5 mg/l and 1.2 to 7.5 mg/l, respectively; amobartital, secobarbital and pentobarbital from 4.3 to 25.8 mg/l, 3.9 to 25.3 mg/l and 5.1 to 31.5 mg/l respectively; clomipramine and desmethylclomipramine from 4.0 to 21.5 mg/l and 1.7 to 8.1 mg/l, respectively and flurazepam 0.15 to 0.99 mg/l; imipramine and desipramine from 4.1 to 18.1 mg/l and 1.0 to 3.6 mg/l, respectively. We conclude that this poorly studied phenomenon creates major difficulties in interpretation and undermines the reference value of data bases where the site of origin of post-mortem blood samples is unknown.

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294 Citations


Open accessJournal ArticleDOI: 10.1007/S12199-008-0037-X
Abstract: The purpose of the present review is to evaluate the effects of common risk factors for suicide by meta-analyses using data extracted from studies based on the psychological autopsy method. We focused on five common risk factors of suicide: substance-related disorders, mood disorders, adverse marital status, adverse employment status, and self-harm behaviors. A total of 24 articles were identified from MEDLINE in which the crude odds ratio (OR) could be calculated for the above five risk factors through 30 April 2007, using such search keywords as “suicide,” “psychological autopsy,” and “case-control study.” Overall, both substance-related disorders [OR = 5.24; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 3.30–8.31] and mood disorders [OR = 13.42; 95% CI = 8.05–22.37] were strongly associated with suicidal risk. Suicidal attempt and deliberate self-harm, which can directly lead to completed suicide, have been shown to be very strongly associated with suicidal risk [OR = 16.33; 95% CI = 7.51–35.52]. Effects of social factors such as adverse marital and employment status were relatively small. As substance-related disorders and mood disorders were strongly associated with an increased risk of completed suicide, the comorbidity of these two disorders should be paid a maximum attention. The effective prevention of suicide depends on whether we can successfully incorporate these personal factors as well as social factors into an adequate multi-factorial model.

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Topics: Suicide prevention (59%), Risk factor (55%), Mood disorders (55%) ... read more

247 Citations


Open accessJournal Article
Abstract: The present work offers an analysis of the historical development of the discovery and use of barbiturates in the field of psychiatry and neurology, a century after their clinical introduction. Beginning with the synthesis of malonylurea by von Baeyer in 1864, and up to the decline of barbiturate therapy in the 1960s, it describes the discovery of the sedative properties of barbital, by von Mering and Fischer (1903), the subsequent synthesis of phenobarbital by this same group (1911), and the gradual clinical incorporation of different barbiturates (butobarbital, amobarbital, secobarbital, pentobarbital, thiopental, etc). We describe the role played in therapy by barbiturates throughout their history: their traditional use as sedative and hypnotic agents, their use with schizophrenic patients in so-called "sleep cures" (Klaesi, Cloetta), the discovery of the antiepileptic properties of phenobarbital (Hauptmann) and their use in the treatment of epilepsy, and the introduction of thiobarbiturates in intravenous anesthesia (Lundy, Waters). We also analyze, from the historical perspective, the problems of safety (phenomena of dependence and death by overdose) which, accompanied by the introduction of a range of psychoactive drugs in the 1950s, brought an end to barbiturate use, except in specific applications, such as the induction of anesthesia and the treatment of certain types of epileptic crisis.

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Topics: Intravenous anesthesia (56%), Barbiturate (55%), Hypnotic (52%) ... read more

176 Citations


Journal ArticleDOI: 10.1111/ADD.13897
Shane Darke1, Sharlene Kaye2, Sharlene Kaye1, Johan Duflou3  +1 moreInstitutions (3)
01 Dec 2017-Addiction
Abstract: Aims To (1) assess trends in the number and mortality rates of methamphetamine-related death in Australia, 2009–15; (2) assess the characteristics and the cause, manner and circumstances of death; and (3) assess the blood methamphetamine concentrations and the presence of other drugs in methamphetamine-related death. Design Analysis of cases of methamphetamine-related death retrieved from the National Coronial Information System (NCIS). Setting Australia. Cases All cases in which methamphetamine was coded in the NCIS database as a mechanism contributing to death (n = 1649). Measurements Information was collected on cause and manner of death, demographics, location, circumstances of death and toxicology. Findings The mean age of cases was 36.9 years, and 78.4% were male. The crude mortality rate was 1.03 per 100 000. The rate increased significantly over time (P < 0.001), and at 2015 the mortality rate was 1.8 [confidence interval (CI) = 1.2–2.4] times that of 2009. Deaths were due to accidental drug toxicity (43.2%), natural disease (22.3%), suicide (18.2%), other accident (14.9%) and homicide (1.5%). In 40.8% of cases, death occurred outside the major capital cities. The median blood methamphetamine concentration was 0.17 mg/l, and cases in which only methamphetamine was detected had higher concentrations than other cases (0.30 versus 0.15 mg/l, P < 0.001). The median blood methamphetamine concentration varied within a narrow range (0.15–0.20 mg/l) across manner of death. In the majority (82.8%) of cases, substances other than methamphetamine were detected, most frequently opioids (43.1%) and hypnosedatives (38.0%). Conclusions Methamphetamine death rates doubled in Australia from 2009 to 2015. While toxicity was the most frequent cause, natural disease, suicide and accident comprised more than half of deaths.

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Topics: Mortality rate (56%), Poison control (54%)

71 Citations


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