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Teen Suicides by Medication Overdoses Increase

NJ Poison experts see an increase in calls


Depressed teenRaising Teens?

So far this year (January through February 2012), the NJ poison experts have consulted on more than 150 cases regarding teens who have tried to commit suicide or intentionally harm themselves by overdosing on medications. The NJ poison experts strongly urge all adults to properly dispose of all medications that are no longer being used. Over-the-Counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx) medications can kill if not used according to the instructions on the label. Lock all medications in a lockable medicine cabinet or closet so teens do not have unsupervised access to them.

Example of Suicide Attempts by Teens

  • 11-year-old takes an excessive amount of Over-the-Counter (OTC) 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-old overdoses on own antidepressants
  • 15-year-old ingests nail polish remover
  • 16-year-old takes a massive amount of OTC sleep medications
  • 17-year-old takes Mom’s prescription antidepressants

Help is Just a Phone Call Away

NJPIES leaders urge you to call the toll-free poison center hot line, 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 hotline is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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