Health

More and more young people are trying to commit suicide by poisoning themselves


SYouth homicides have been on the rise for a long time. Among 10- to 24-year-olds, the overall U.S. suicide death rate increased 57% between 2000 and 2018, according to federal data. data. Now, a new research published in a magazine Clinical Toxicology took a closer look at a particular method of suicide attempt — self-poisoning — and came up with some disturbing results: Between 2015 and 2020, suicide attempts by ingestion of a toxic substance or Drug overdoses have increased by 26% among those aged 6 to 19 years.

The study, led by Dr. Jennifer Ross, a medical toxicologist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, is based on data from National Toxicology Data System, which aggregates information from the country’s 55 state and territory poison control centers. From 2015-2020, there were 514,350 calls to poison control centers involving children 6-19 years of age, according to control centers’ guidance on suspected suicide attempts, with ” exposure due to inappropriate use of substances that are harmful to themselves or self-destructive” reason.

In 2015 more than 75,000 such cases were reported. That number has been growing for five consecutive years each year, to more than 93,500 by 2020. “We’re starting to see an increase in children at a younger age trying to commit suicide by taking an acute drug overdose. counted in our clinical practice at [the University of Virginia Health System]Christopher Holstege, chief of medical toxicology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and co-author of the paper, said in a statement. statement. “We were very concerned about our institutional numbers and decided to do a study on the national numbers, which confirmed that this increase is not only a local issue but a national one as well. family”.

Not every segment of the 6 to 19 age group has been hit equally hard. The largest increase in self-poisoning incidents occurred between the ages of 10 and 12, with numbers skyrocketing 109% over the five-year study period. The group of 13-15 years old increased by 30%; children 6-9 years old accounted for 28%; and from 16 to 19 years old, the rate is 18%. Girls account for a larger proportion, accounting for nearly 78% of cases. Of the more than half a million cases studied by the researchers, 276 deaths and nearly 15,000 were associated with life-threatening symptoms or persistent disability.

In most cases, young people used easy-to-find and accessible substances. The most commonly abused substance is acetaminophen, then ibuprofen, then atypical antipsychotics – such as aripiprazole – which are increasingly prescribed not only for psychosis but also for cases of depression more popular.

It is beyond the scope of the study to explain what is behind the disturbing trend. However, in March, American Academy of Pediatrics cited many factors that contribute to youth suicide attempts, including widening disparities in access to affordable and easily accessible mental health care. using self-harm tools, such as guns or drugs in the home.

The authors of the new study urge parents and caregivers to be on the lookout for a growing problem. speak. “Our study is one of several that demonstrates that we are experiencing an unprecedented mental health crisis in younger age groups. As a society, we must commit more resources to the mental health needs of our children. ”

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Write letter for Jeffrey Kluger at jeffrey.kluger@time.com.



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