Aim: Among adolescents, poisoning is a leading cause of injury mortality in the United States. This study describes the epidemiology of poisonings, intoxication, and maladaptive effects of drugs among adolescents age 10-19 years in a large city. Methods: An injury surveillance system used records at seven hospitals, medical examiner records, and vital records over a two year period. Results: Of 633 cases (618 injuries/100 000/year), 6% were unintentional, 36% self-inflicted, 41% alcohol intoxication, and 15% maladaptive effects of drugs. Alcohol was involved in 45% of cases, 23% illegal drugs, 23% non-prescription drugs, 19% prescription drugs; 19% involved more than one substance. Hospitalization was required in 20%; 8% transferred to another hospital; one died from intoxication. The authors found high rates of self-inflicted poisoning, intoxication, and maladaptive effects of drugs among this urban population. Conclusion: The study highlights the need to broadly define poisonings among adolescents and the challenge of assessing intent in some cases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health