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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alcohol use in combination with cocaine, heroin and methadone by medical examiner cases.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this review of all appropriate, available medical examiner (ME) studies is to provide information on cases with positive toxicologies for cocaine, morphine (the heroin metabolite) and methadone that have positive blood or brain alcohol concentrations (BACs). METHODS: Criteria for inclusion of U.S. ME studies in this review are (1) at least 20 cases with a positive toxicology for cocaine, morphine or methadone and (2) BAC test findings according to specific drug positivity. Only 19 studies conducted from 1969 to 1992 met these criteria; most studies reviewed were not included primarily because of their failure to present or link available BAC test findings with positive toxicologies for these other drugs. RESULTS: The BAC-positive ranges were similar for cocaine and heroin. In reports on both heroin and methadone or on all three drugs, heroin-positive cases had the highest proportions and methadone-positive cases had the lowest proportions with positive BACs. CONCLUSIONS: Published data confirm the substantial presence of alcohol in combination with cocaine, heroin and methadone among ME cases. Future ME studies should endeavor to link BAC and toxicology findings for other drugs according to drug-induced or drug-related manner of death. These data would advance our knowledge about the role of alcohol in drug deaths and provide additional information on substance abuse trends.[1]


  1. Alcohol use in combination with cocaine, heroin and methadone by medical examiner cases. Haberman, P.W., Noble, J.A., Dufour, M.C. J. Stud. Alcohol (1995) [Pubmed]
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