UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Analyses of Child and Youth Self-Poisoning Hospitalizations by Substance and Socioeconomic Status Pawer, Samantha; Rajabali, Fahra; Zheng, Alex; Smith, Jennifer; Purssell, Roy; Pike, Ian


Child and youth self-poisoning is a growing public health issue in many regions of the world, including British Columbia (BC), Canada, where 15–19-year-olds have the highest rates of self-poisoning hospitalizations compared with those of all other ages. The purpose of this study was to identify what substances children and youth commonly used to poison themselves in BC and how socioeconomic status may impact self-poisoning risk. Self-poisoning hospitalization rates among 10–14 and 15–19-year-olds from 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2020 were calculated by substance using ICD-10-CA codes X60-X69 and T36-T65, as well as by socioeconomic status using the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec’s Deprivation Index. Nonopioid analgesics, antipyretics, and antirheumatics were the most common substances involved, with rates of 27.6 and 74.3 per 100,000 population among 10–14 and 15–19-year-olds, respectively, followed by antiepileptic, sedative–hypnotic, antiparkinsonism, and psychotropic drugs, with rates of 20.2 and 68.1 per 100,000 population among 10–14 and 15–19-year-olds, respectively. In terms of socioeconomic status, rates were highest among 10–19-year-olds living in neighbourhoods with the fewest social connections (243.7 per 100,000 population). These findings can inform poisoning prevention strategies and relevant policies, thereby reducing the number of self-poisoning events among children and youth.

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