Addiction

10 September 2007

Drug overdoses on the rise

About 1 182 patients were treated for drug overdoses in the Pretoria Academic Hospital in 2005 and 2006, the Gauteng health department said on Monday.

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About 1 182 patients were treated for drug overdoses in the Pretoria Academic Hospital in 2005 and 2006, the Gauteng health department said on Monday.

"It is a high figure that illustrates a drug problem in the city that is often related to attempts to commit suicide," the Democratic Alliance's spokesman on health, Jack Bloom, said.

The figures were disclosed by MEC of health in Gauteng, Brian Hlongwa, in a written reply from Bloom.

More females than males were treated for drug overdoses, a high number of whom overdosed on anti-depressants.

More effective plan needed
Teenagers also tended to overdose on paracetamol, and many black patients overdosed on organophosphates, commonly found in insecticides.

Approximately 30-35 percent of these patients needed intensive or high-care treatment at a cost of about R7 000 a day.

"We need more effective prevention strategies to prevent drug abuse and suicide attempts, both to save lives and to ease the strain on our overstretched hospitals," Bloom said. –(Sapa)

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