The Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP) and the National Secretariat for Drugs Policy (SENAD), of the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety, have signed an agreement for the execution of a research on the prevalence of alcohol use, in combination or not with other illicit drugs, among victims of violent deaths necropsied in the Legal Medical Institutes in five capitals and four other cities in five different regions of the country. The total funding amounts to R$ 5.2 million reais. 

The study will be coordinated by Prof. Vilma Leyton, from the Department of Legal Medicine, Medical Ethics and Social and Occupational Medicine of FMUSP, and by Prof. Heráclito Barbosa de Carvalho, from the Department of Preventive Medicine of FMUSP.

"This is the first nationwide study on the relationship between alcohol and/or drugs use with the occurrence of violent deaths in cities with high rates of violence", says Prof. Vilma Leyton. The project aims to expand a previous study conducted by Dr. Gabriel Andreuccetti, FMUSP Collaborating Researcher, in which he obtained population-based estimates of the context of different injuries that resulted in deaths related to the use of a variety of drugs using the city of São Paulo as a model.

Prof. Heráclito Carvalho explains: "the use of alcohol and other illicit drugs is associated with the occurrence of traumatic injuries, especially those related to interpersonal violence and traffic accidents. Laboratory tests and toxicological findings for diagnosis may be required by both law enforcement and medical examiners, however, without legal requirement. Your no-request, for several reasons - from local culture, lack of budget forecast, infrastructure, among others - lead to underreporting of the problem. As one of the consequences, we have inadequate information for local and/or regional diagnosis to propose prevention and control actions, which should be different for the different regions of Brazil".

In conclusion, the study of fatal victims (violent death) offers a great opportunity to improve surveillance systems in this type of death, "which we do not yet have in Brazil, where it will be used as an important tool for developing national programs to prevent and control both these deaths and the panorama of drugs use in the country", concludes Prof. Heráclito.