In just over a year, 100 children between nine and twelve committed suicide due to an overdose of drugs in New Jersey, the state's poison center that was unveiled on Friday.
Self-poisoning – especially among girls – is on the rise throughout the country, a trend in which public health officials warn American parents to protect their pills.
Since 2015, the number of such attempts has doubled in New Jersey, according to the poison control center.
And 80 percent of those attempts were made by girls.
& # 39; This trend should sound the alarms – we have young children trying to commit suicide through an overdose rate that continues to rise & # 39 ;, said Dr. Diane Calello, executive and medical director of the NJ Poison Control Center.
In just over a year, 100 New Jersey children under 12 committed suicide by taking too many pills – and 80 percent of them were girls, according to new data on combating poisoning (file)
The Rutgers University team reported that your nine-year-olds, seven 10-year-olds, 22 11-year-olds, and 68 12-year-olds have been trying to poison themselves since the beginning of 2018.
It is not just a New Jersey phenomenon. It's happening in the US.
Over the past decade, suicide attempts have increased across the board, but the increases among young Americans have been particularly worrying.
In the first few months of 2019 alone, 30 children aged 12 and younger committed suicide through self-poisoning.
Poison control experts say that the most urgent issue to be addressed is the easy access of children to medicines prescribed to adults.
The New York Poison Control Center encourages adults to take preventative measures to keep children away from drugs.
& # 39; We now know it is not enough to keep medication high and out of reach to prevent suicide by adolescents & # 39 ;, said Dr. Bruce Ruck, director of the center.
& # 39; It is a start to preserve medicines (prescription, available without prescription, in food, herbs or vitamins) when they are not being used.
Dr. Ruck told Dailymail.com that there has been a shift in the last decade that children should watch out for adults.
& # 39; We used to worry about the toddlers and told people to keep their medicine up, & # 39; said Dr. Ruck.
& # 39; Now, it locks it up or throws it away properly. & # 39;
Dr. Ruck urges adults to ensure that they take their reserve drugs to a collection site, designated storage locations at the pharmacy or to take them back to drug day on April 27 when the Drug Enforcement Agency sets up additional collection sites – and says no to simply throw them where they can be found and abused.
He says that in this young age group – 12 and under – overdoses are a matter of & # 39; the drug or substance of opportunity & # 39 ;.
New Jersey Poison Control receives calls for children who have overdosed on everything from freely available drugs such as paracetamol and opioids for their grandmother's blood pressure medication.
& # 39; We see a little bit of everything in this age group – it's all around & & # 39 ;, says Dr. Ruck.
He assumes that even young children experience social problems and stress issues, but a whole bunch of things that the experts have yet to try (and figure out) how to stop these children from doing it. & # 39;
& # 39; We must keep an eye on what young children are doing because people tend to think that these younger children are not trying to harm themselves, but they are. & # 39;
Because hospitals are not required by law to report poisoning to the poison control centers, Dr. Ruck suspects that the figures in his report are probably low.
& # 39; We are perhaps the tip of the iceberg & # 39 ;, he says.
Until the & # 39; why & # 39; of these suicide attempts has been worked out, Dr. Ruck insists on preventive measures.
& # 39; We just want to make sure that people understand that medications no longer need to be put up only high – they must be locked up or disposed of properly. & # 39;
- For confidential support in the United Kingdom call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritan branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.
- For confidential support in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255
- For confidential support in Australia call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14
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