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Pesticides main cause of suicidal deaths in region: PGI study

Pesticides main cause of suicidal deaths in region: PGI study


Tribune News Service

Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, March 4

A PGI study has brought to light the disturbing surge in poisoning cases, with pesticides emerging as the leading cause of fatalities in the region. Pesticides are the most commonly used for intentional poisoning due to their easy availability and low-cost in stressful situations. The study sheds light on the alarming surge in poisoning cases, identifying it as the second most common cause of suicide in the region after hanging.

It is aimed at understanding the socio-demographic profile and outcomes of acute poisoning patients, reported a significant concentration in the 21–30 age group, with unemployed individuals, housewives and students being the most affected by this crisis.

Gender-wise, the study indicates a marginally higher incidence of poison consumption among women, raising concerns about the mental health challenges faced by them in the region.

In the present study, women (51.6%) slightly outnumbered men (48.4%). The reason for female dominance is attributed to increasing role of women in occupational activities and decision-making. In the present study, the main reason for consuming poison was family disputes (37%) related to poor financial conditions, extramarital affairs, marital disharmony, adolescents scolded by parents or teachers because of poor performance in studies, refusal from the parents to fulfil the demands of children like buying a phone, etc, breakups, refusal of proposal from opposite gender.

The majority of patients were unemployed (22.6%). It was followed by housewives (19.4%), students and labourers (17.7% each). What’s striking is that 90.3% of the patients had ingested poison with the intent to commit suicide, pointing towards a critical mental health aspect that demands immediate attention.

Pesticides emerged as the leading cause of suicidal deaths, constituting 61% of all poisoning cases. The majority consumed insecticide poison (54.8%). Among all pesticides, organophosphorus (OPC) (44%) was the poison of choice. Furthermore, the study highlighted the severity of aluminium phosphide poisoning, with a disturbingly high mortality rate of 38%.

In response to these findings, the researchers suggest that there should be a provision of rationed supply of OPC poisoning compounds as they were found to be responsible for the long duration of respiratory support, ICU stay, and hospitalisation. Survival rate was more among patients who reached hospitals within the golden hour of poison consumption, so our health system should be strengthened at the peripheral level so that the lag time between poison consumption and treatment can be minimised to prevent complications.

Disturbing facts revealed

  • A staggering 90.3% of the patients had consumed poison with the intent to commit suicide. Pesticides emerged as the leading cause of suicidal deaths, constituting 61% of all poisoning cases.
  • The majority of victims consumed insecticide poison (54.8%). Among all pesticides, organophosphorus (OPC) was the poison of choice at 44% cases.
  • The study highlighted the severity of aluminium phosphide poisoning, with a disturbingly high mortality rate of 38%.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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