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Poisoning Casualties: Alcohol, Pharmaceuticals or “Legal Highs”?: Poisoning Cases at Emergency Rooms in The Swedish County Värmland in 2007-2013
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies. Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Centre for Public Safety.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5668-0469
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.
Landstinget i Värmland.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education, ISSN 2161-0711, Vol. 5, no 6Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The growing number of novel psychoactive substances (NPS), also labelled as “legal highs”, constitutes a challenge to public health. It is uncertain whether this trend is related to the increase in number of poising cases reported by emergency rooms. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of NPS in acute cases of poisoning in the Swedish county Värmland. The numbers of NPS casualties were correlated with poisoning by other substances. Both, the gender and age distribution of the reported cases were recorded.

Method: Records classified as poisoning casualties at the emergency rooms in Värmland during 2007- 2013 were collected and analyzed.

Results: NPS and illicit drugs constituted only a small part (1.67% and 7.84% respectively) of the total poisoning casualties. The results also revealed that alcohol and pharmaceuticals were present in the majority of cases (91.2%), and were to a larger extent involved in polydrug abuse and suicide attempts. Furthermore, the results uncovered an alarming poisoning problem among women who had taken pharmaceuticals and for suicidal young people.

Conclusions: It is unclear whether the comparatively low prevalence of NPS and illicit drug related poisoning casualties reflect the real prevalence of injury cases or a possible under-reporting. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Omics publishing group , 2015. Vol. 5, no 6
Keyword [en]
Poisoning, Emergency room, Legal high, Novel psychoactive substances, NPS, internet drug
National Category
Research subject
Psychology with an emphasis on medical psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-39024DOI: 10.4172/2161-0711.1000386OAI: diva2:893162
Interentdroger - effekter och risker
Public Health Agency of Sweden
Available from: 2016-01-12 Created: 2016-01-12 Last updated: 2016-01-21

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Kjellgren, AnetteSoussan, ChristopheAndersson, Martin
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