The study of alcohol-related death provides crucial information as to how, and why, people die from alcohol. Such information is also of critical importance in measuring the burden of disease alcohol imposes upon the living. There are two complementary means to approach alcohol-related death: epidemiology and forensic studies (which examine the coronial records of cases of alcohol-related death). The epidemiology of alcohol-related death provides important data on the extent to which alcohol impacts upon premature death, and what kinds of deaths it incurs. Forensic studies contain granular information on who dies, their toxicology at the time of death, the circumstances in which they died, and their state of health at the time of death. Taken together, these two methods provide powerful insights into alcohol-related behaviours and disease and provide guidance on how we may reduce the burden of disease imposed by alcohol.
Professor Shane Darke
National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre
Professor Darke has worked at NDARC since 1988 and is a leading world expert on the morbidity and mortality associated with substance use. He has authored more than 250 articles and 4 books and is the Regional Editor for Australasia & Southeast Asia for Addiction.