Teen suicides by medication overdoses increase

| 14 Mar 2012 | 03:56

    NEWARK — In the first two months of 2012, the New Jersey Poison Control Center experts have consulted on over 150 cases regarding teenagers who have tried to commit suicide or intentionally harm themselves by overdosing on medications.The experts strongly urge adults to properly dispose of all medications that are no longer being used.Over-the-counter and prescription medications can kill if not used according to the instructions on the label. Keep medications in a lockable medicine cabinet or closet so teens do not have unsupervised access to them.

    Help is just a phone call away New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) leaders urge medical professionals, parents, educators, caregivers and the general public to call the toll-free poison center hotline, 800-222-1222, with any poison related question as well as for non-emergency questions regarding medications, household products, plants, environmental contaminants, or other poisons.The experts recommend putting the number in all family cell phones as well as programming it as a speed dial number on landlines.In addition, the hotline number should be prominently posted near all phones in the home.

    Here are some examples of suicide attempts by teens that the NJPIES has dealt with:

    11 year old takes an excessive amount of over-the-counter pain medications

    13 year old ingests a relative’s prescription pills and develops seizures

    14 year old ingests a large amount of prescription antihistamines

    14 year overdoses on own antidepressants

    15 year old ingests nail polish remover

    16 year old takes a massive amount of over-the-counter sleep medications

    17 year old takes mom’s prescription antidepressants

    The NJPIES hotline uses medical professionals, such as physicians, registered nurses and pharmacists, and offers confidential advice regarding poison emergencies and provides information on poison prevention, drugs, food poisoning, animal bites and more. These specialists are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. New Jersey residents seeking immediate information about treating poison emergencies, and those with any drug information questions, should call the toll-free hotline, 800-222-1222, any time. The hearing impaired may call 973-926-8008. For more information, visit www.njpies.org or call 973-972-9280.