This Week In The Bmj

Tackling drug and alcohol misuse could reduce stranger homicides

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 25 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0-c

“Stranger homicides” are most commonly committed byyoung men, and drugs and alcohol make the offence more likely. Shaw and colleagues (p 734) analysed 1594 homicides in England and Wales between 1996 and 1999. They found that 358 (22%) homicides were stranger homicides, and the largest single cause was fights. Perpetrators of stranger homicides were more likely to have a history of drug and alcohol misuse than to have a mental illness or to have been under mental health care. The policy of care in the community does not increase the risk of stranger homicide by people with mental illness, say the authors; measures directed at curtailing alcohol and drug misuse have more potential for prevention.

Embedded Image