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Dramatic Rise Self-Poisonings in Children and Young Adults in Australia

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New research by the University of Sydney and the NSW Poisons Information Centre reported that self-poisoning among Australian children and young adults is increasing rapidly and also starting at younger ages. The number of self-poisonings in Australia has doubled in the last ten years. Among the types of self-harm prevalent in Australia, self-poisonings are most common. Children and adolescents that suffer from drug addiction and mental illnesses such as depression are more likely to poison themselves, which often leads to suicide.

According to EurekAlert, from 2006-2016 there were more than 33,500 self-poisoning in young people from ages 5-19, a 98% increase during this time. The most common poisons used for self-harm are household products and medicines such as paracetamol, antidepressants, ibuprofen, and antipsychotics. NSW saw a large increase in psychotropic medicines, which are normally prescribed to treat mental illnesses.

EurekAlert has reported child suicide rates in Australia but as of today, March 6 2019 there has been no corporate media coverage.

Source: University of Sydney and the NSW Poisons Information Centre, “Steep rise in self poisonings in children and adolescents,” EurekAlert, February 20, 2019, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-02/uos-sri021919.php.

Student Researcher: Mollica Ke (City College of San Francisco)

Faculty Evaluator: Jennifer Levinson (City College of San Francisco)

Daniel Christof

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