In some cultures a person who dies from a drug overdose may show one or more findings associated with bloodletting.



(1) A person overdoses on a drug such as heroin and becomes comatose.

(2) Associates try to resuscitate the patient by bleeding the patient in an attempt to reduce the amount of drug in the victim.


Findings may include:

(1) evidence of recent phlebotomy from accessible veins

(2) incision(s) on the feet

(3) skin slashes


Supporting evidence:

(1) history or signs of drug abuse

(2) absence of signs of foul play and another explanation

(3) eyewitness testimony

(4) deposits of removed blood (in syringes, on towels, etc)


Differential diagnosis:

(1) signs of self-mutilation associated with mental illness

(2) signs of physical assault or violence


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