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Intentional Poisonings A Significant Problem

According to new information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2009 there were 14,270 visits to the emergency room for intentional drug poisoning. Of these visits to the ER, 73 percent were made by people over the age of 21, and almost two-thirds were made by women.

“These [intentional poisonings] are attempts to harm someone by deliberately getting them to take a potentially harmful substance without their knowledge. These are people that are being given drugs that they don’t know about,” said Peter J. Delany, Ph.D., the director of SAMHSA’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.

The SAMHSA report found that one-third of intentional poisonings involved drugs like marijuana, stimulants and/or ecstasy. Twenty one percent of intentional poisonings involve prescription drugs such as those used to commonly treat insomnia, anxiety or pain.

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