Research Article

Self-poisoning with drugs: the past 20 years in Sheffield.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 01 January 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:28
  1. D I Jones


    In Sheffield there are now over 1000 admissions to hospital each year because of self-poisoning, an increase of twentyfold over the past two decades. The city is representative of the Trent Region, and it can be confidently estimated that there are at least 100 000 cases of self-poisoning in the United Kingdom each year. Most patients are in their late teens and early twenties, and in young women self-poisoning is the most common cause of emergency admission to a medical ward. Although the drugs are usually prescribed by a doctor, patients, especially the young, are showing an increasing tendency to misappropriate drugs prescribed for others. The choice of drug is a matter of simple availability, and national trends in prescribing are reflected in the overdose figures. Barbiturates and paracetamol are responsible for the most deaths. Residence in densely populated areas may be a predisposing factor.