Overdoses rising?

The rate of deliberate painkiller and antidepressant overdoses is rising


Intentional vs. Unintentional Overdose Deaths

When a person dies because of a drug overdose, the medical examiner or coroner records on the death certificate whether the overdose was intentional (purposely self-inflicted, as in cases of suicide) or unintentional (accidental). Unintentional drug poisoning deaths include cases where:

  • a drug was taken accidentally

  • too much of a drug was taken accidentally

  • the wrong drug was given or taken in error

  • an accident occurred in the use of a drug(s) in medical and surgical procedures

When overall drug overdoses are reported, intentional and unintentional overdoses are counted, along with drug poisonings inflicted by another person with intent to injure or kill, and overdoses in which the intent to harm cannot be determined.

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Rates of deliberate overdoses rising in young people

"Sharp rise in young people overdosing on painkillers and antidepressants," reports The Guardian, describing a UK study that looked at rates of "poisoning events" in recent years.

Researchers looked at data from GP records, hospital admissions and information from the Office for National Statistics to identify poisoning events.

They focused on the experiences of young people aged 10 to 24 at some point during the study period from 1998 to 2014.

Just under 2% of the young people studied had experienced poisoning events over the study period. The study says about 3 out of every 5 incidents (66.5%) were deliberate overdoses.

Rates have increased in recent years, with greater increases in young women and girls compared with young men and boys.

People from more deprived backgrounds had higher rates than those from the least deprived groups.

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The Guardian

Sharp rise in young people overdosing on painkillers and antidepressants

Soaring numbers of children, teenagers and young adults have been deliberately poisoning themselves with overdoses of drugs such as painkillers and antidepressants as a response to feelings of distress, according to a new study.

Experts said the sharp rises – the latest evidence of the growing crisis in young people’s mental health – were particularly alarming because those who poisoned themselves were up to 32 times more likely to die by suicide in the 10 years after their overdose.

In light of the findings, doctors have been urging parents to do more to try to prevent children at home from having easy access to supplies of over-the-counter drugs, prescribed medicines and alcohol, to reduce their risk of using them to harm themselves.

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