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In the accompanying article, Spark et al. (Am J Epidemiol. 2023;192(5):720-731) estimate the undercounting of deaths due to suicide, drug use, and alcohol use in a Colorado veteran population and argue for a standardized case definition for the 3 causes of mortality. Use of a case definition for these 3 causes of death combined implies that they should be analyzed together. This is problematic, given the disparate trends in and historical contexts behind these 3 different causes of death.

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Epidemiol

Publication Date





732 - 733


alcohol use, alcohol-related mortality, deaths of despair, drug use, drug-related mortality, mortality, suicide, Humans, Alcohol Drinking, Cause of Death, Colorado, Substance-Related Disorders, Suicide