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An Interview Study of Hospitalized Drug Overdose Patients

By Janet Barnsley and Edward M. Sellers


A study of 67 patients hospitalized after intentional drug overdose revealed that individuals whose average alcohol intake exceeded 20 grams per day were more likely to have ingested alcohol at the time of overdose and to have a history of acute drug ingestion. Besides having a higher rate of unemployment and more frequent dependence on welfare, the heavier drinkers were more transient and more likely to have had contact with medical facilities and legal authorities than were patients who averaged less than 20 grams of alcohol per day. More effective communication between individuals involved in the treatment of drug overdose could alert physicians to patient characteristics associated with self injury, thus allowing them to monitor closely or restrict drug therapy for high risk patients

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