37 People a Day Are Treated for Poisoning in Costa Rica: Suicide Attempt Is Among the Leading Causes

    The National Poison Center received, on average, 37 cases per day, during the first 4 months of 2023

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    According to available data, last year the method of poisoning as a suicide attempt became the cause of the highest incidence, with 3,185 cases. “We have seen that the cases of suicide attempts and addictions worsened due to the impact on mental health due to the Covid-19 situation. Poisoning as a suicide attempt increased by 40% in 3 years”, said Viviana Ramos, head of that national research center.

    Meaningful increase

    For this 2023, the general poisoning data is on the rise. The center registers 4,163 visits, that is, 39 more compared to the same period in 2022. “It could be said that the behavior is very similar, however, the increase has remained sustained”, Ramos said. “Without a doubt, post-pandemic social re-adaptation has been a difficult process for emotionally vulnerable populations, for example, children and adolescents. This increased poisonings due to suicide attempts in these age groups”, lamented the doctor.

    Among the 4 main causes of attention in 2023, the following stand out:

    1. Accidental: 1,020

    2. Suicide attempt: 898

    3. Adverse drug reaction: 565

    4. Addiction: 554

    Regarding “accidental poisonings”, many cases that occur due to negligence, mainly by parents, and those responsible for minors are included.

    Liquor: A toxic product

    On the other hand, the main product of poisoning for 2 consecutive years is liquor, followed by clonazepam and food. “We have liquor in the first place, but when we see cases it is liquor with something else, sometimes many different types of drugs or pills, that not even the same person knows about”, Ramos explained. “Without a doubt we have had a very important change in poisonings, what was frequent before were cases due to food and even animal bites; but now there are many medicines and synthetic drugs that generate emergencies”, she added.

    Emergency calls

    In the national center, the intoxicated patient is cared for, but doubts that the population may have are also resolved. “Poisoning is reported when a person is subjected to the ingestion or exposure of a toxic product, such as drugs, plants, medicines and food. We are part of the 9-1-1 emergency system, we are a specialized office to deal with poisoning”, the doctor reported.

    Ambulances are dispatched from this center according to the severity and emergency of the report. People can call toll free at 800-46869422. A poison expert is available 24-hours a day.The authorities make the call to seek help in the case of practices that may cause a risk to life, with the intake of substances.

    Resonance Costa Rica
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