Report: Number of teens taking drugs to self-harm nearly doubles

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CHICAGO (WAND) - The number of teens who attempted to cause self-harm through drug ingestion has increased by 89 percent over the last 10 years, according to the Illinois Poison Center.

IPC officials say new data shows that the number of teens between the ages of 13 and 19 who have attempted to self-harm by ingesting drugs has increased from 3,087 cases in 2007 to 5,821 cases in 2016.  Officials also say the number of cases that resulted in serious harm increased, from 16 percent of cases in 2007 to 27 percent of cases in 2016.

Illinois Poison Center Medical Director Michael Wahl, M.D., says "The troubling rise in the number of self-harm ingestions in teenagers reported to the IPC is a clear sign of the urgency behind initiatives like National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day," and that "Mental health is a lifelong concern, but it’s especially important that we work to recognize the signs of emotional distress in adolescents and address their mental health needs."

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day aims to spread the word about the importance of integrating behavioral health for children and teens with mental or substance use disorders.

For more information about the Illinois Poison Center, click here.

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