n South African Medical Journal - The burden of drug overdose on critical care units in East London, South Africa : correspondence

Volume 106, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Intentional self-harm accounted for 1.3% of non-natural deaths and 0.1% of all-cause mortality in South Africa (SA) in 2013. Fatal suicidal behaviour only represents a portion of the problem. The burden of non-fatal suicidal behaviour on our public health system is significant. Of particular concern is the downward trend in age of those affected, with an exponential increase in suicidal behaviour being seen among the younger generation. Overdoses account for 90% of non-fatal suicidal behavioural events among young people in SA.

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