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  • High poisoning rates among females

    Author: AAP

Almost two thirds of poisonings among young Australians between 2012 and 2013 involved intentional self-harm, new research shows.

Children and young people aged under 24 account for a third of hospital admissions for poisoning in Australia, a study has found.

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The most recent analysis of poisoning in Australia, published by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), also showed that almost two thirds of admissions to hospital for poisoning among young people aged 10-24 was intentional.

Girls and young women had a higher rate of intentional self-harm hospital admission than boys and young men.

"Girls and young women were hospitalised at a rate of 223 cases per 100,000, compared with 109 for boys and young men, and that almost half (6084) of those hospitalised were aged 20-24," the study's author, Dr Sophie Pointer, said.


Dr Pointer looked at all hospital admissions due to poisoning in Australia in 2012-2013.

The findings show that of the more than 37,000 people admitted for poisoning in Australia during that period, just under 12,500 were children or young people aged 24 or younger.

Cases of intentional poisoning accounted for the largest proportion of admissions among both sexes aged 10-24 at 63 per cent.

Pharmaceutical drugs and medications (10,620 cases) were the main types of substances involved in poisonings among that age group.

Non-opioid analgesics, such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, accounted for 37 per cent of pharmaceutical poisoning admissions, while psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants, accounted for 30 per cent of cases.

In 1831 cases - 15 per cent - no pharmaceutical was involved.

They instead involved poisoning from either inhaling gases such as carbon monoxide, venomous animal bites, or alcohol poisoning.

Nearly 80 per cent of all non-pharmaceutical poisoning cases among children aged five to nine were the result of contact with a venomous animal.

Overall, fewer than one per cent of cases in children and young people were considered life threatening.

* For support and information about suicide prevention, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800


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