The link between alcohol use and suicide has long been established by research over the last half-century. In the past, much of the research was focused on alcohol pricing and availability and the overall rates of suicide, in other words, the relationship between alcohol retail density and the frequency of suicides in a certain area. However, new research has strengthened this connection, linking suicides to high blood alcohol content (BAC) levels.
Researchers used data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), a surveillance system supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was created to track information about violent deaths. Out of the 51,547 suicides examined, researchers found that 34 percent of those who took their own lives had alcohol in their systems and 22 percent had BAC levels above .08. Additionally, researchers determined that the density of bars and liquor stores in an area increased the likelihood of suicides, primarily among men, Native Americans and Alaskans.
Not only does this finding further reinforce that alcohol abuse is linked to mental illness and suicide, but it also suggests that a high availability of alcohol may lead people down the wrong path.