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In Britain, the most common type of poisoning is acute poisoning . From the 1970s to the present there has been a gradual increase in poisoning deaths. Although official statistics show most cases to be accidental, a deeper analysis reveals intentionality in many of them. In Britain,murder by poisoning appears to be rare, as most murderers are impulsive. Many of those who decide to commit suicide by poison die before they reach the hospital, as they are often so determined to die that they make sure no one can oppose their plan.

Epidemiological statistics in England and Wales are similar to those in other states such as Scotland. In “developed” states, young children are much better protected from malnutrition, infection and trauma than before. Increased are the cases in which children unwillingly swallow toxic substances. Hundreds of children under the age of 10 die from poisoning every day in England and Wales, and most of them because they ingest carbon monoxide. In contrast to hospitalizations, the mortality rate of these children is very low, especially since only a few stay in the hospital more than one night and therefore not really suffering from poisoning. Of course, as far as young children are concerned, it is normal for them to put anything in their mouths, and it often happens that they ingest medicines left unattended and within their reach.

Accidental poisoning of adults can depend on several factors, including toxic gases and vapors, along with some metals such as lead. When it comes to self-poisoning, the accusation falls on those drugs capable of giving a state of unconsciousness. Some can be purchased freely without a prescription, while others cannot. At present, barbiturates no longer rank first among the most commonly used drugs because their prescription has been restricted. Their place has been taken by antidepressants, sedatives, tranquilizers, hypnotics, and all those drugs that are used every day to treat psychoneurotic afflictions.

Source: Roy Goulding’s Vademecum of Poisoning Therapy.

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