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Analysis of trends in deaths from accidental drug poisoning in teenagers, 1985-95

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 02 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:289
  1. Ian Roberts, directora,
  2. Maggie Barker, consultant in public healtha,
  3. Leah Li, statisticiana
  1. a Child Health Monitoring Unit, Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Roberts
  • Accepted 9 June 1997


Surveys in secondary schools over the past 25 years have shown large increases in the number of teenagers exposed to drugs. A study in Wolverhampton found that the proportion of secondary school pupils who had been offered drugs more than doubled between 1989 and 1994.1 The proportion of pupils who had been offered the psychostimulant drug Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) increased from 5% to 43% between 1989 and 1994.1 Accidental overdose and acute severe complications are important causes of death among drug misusers.2 We examined trends in death rates from accidental poisoning in teenagers aged 15-19 years from 1985 to 1995.

Methods and results

The anonymised records of all deaths from injury and poisoning in England and Wales among people aged 15 to 19 years inclusive during 1985-95 were obtained from the Office for National Statistics. Each …

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