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Study shows ‘alarming increase’ in youth self-harm by overdoses

The rate of self-harm among Australian adolescents and children from overdosing on prescription drugs has almost doubled in the past decade and is happening at a younger age, a University of Sydney study has found.

The study says that overdoses, or self-poisoning, accounted for 80 per cent of all self-harm cases reported among those aged between 5 and 19 years from 2006 to 2016. There were more than 33,500 deliberate overdoses during that period, with girls and young women outnumbering boys and young men by a ratio of three to one.

The study is published online in the open-access medical journal BMJ Open.

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