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Analysis of psychotropic drug-related deaths in south Osaka

Authors Tani N, Ikeda T, Michiue T, Oritani S, Morioka F, Ishikawa T

Received 23 January 2018

Accepted for publication 24 July 2018

Published 24 September 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 79—90

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/SAR.S163491

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Li-Tzy Wu


Naoto Tani,1,2 Tomoya Ikeda,1,2 Tomomi Michiue,1,2 Shigeki Oritani,1 Fumiya Morioka,1 Takaki Ishikawa1,2

1Department of Legal Medicine, Osaka City University Medical School, Abeno, Osaka, Japan; 2Forensic Autopsy Section, Medico-legal Consultation and Postmortem Investigation Support Center, c/o Department of Legal Medicine, Osaka City University Medical School, Abeno, Osaka, Japan

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of deaths due to psychotropic drugs in south Osaka during a 10-year period and discuss societal factors from a medical viewpoint.
Methods: Psychotropic drug-related deaths were retrospectively investigated based on the forensic postmortem data of 1,746 decedents in 2005–2014, and we excluded cases in which stimulant drugs were detected. Of these, 133 cases (7.6%) were found to be psychotropic drug-related deaths and were analyzed.
Results: Psychotropic drug-related deaths occurred in 78 males (59%; age range, 14–95 years) and 55 females (41%; 20–84 years). The direct cause of death was acute drug intoxication in many cases, and of these, acute combined drug intoxication due to the use of multiple drugs accounted for 76% of the deaths. Most of these victims were found to have gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases. Cases of psychotropic drug-related deaths had especially poor medical conditions. In addition, tests were positive for blood alcohol in 23% of the cases.
Conclusion: The descriptive results revealed several factors that may be related to psychotropic drug-related deaths. To prevent drug abuse, several factors were deemed to be important, including improvements in the medical state of an individual, the avoidance of social isolation, and from a medical standpoint, the management of prescription drugs by medical personnel.

Keywords: forensic autopsy, epidemiology, psychiatric drugs, drug abuse, dependency factor

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