An Appraisal of Poisoning Patterns among Adolescent Patients Admitted into Tertiary Care Hospitals in Nigeria

I. H. Igbinosa(1), O. G. Igharo(2), A. I. Okoh(3),

(1) Centre for Forensic Programme and DNA Studies, University of Benin, Private Mail Bag 1154 Benin City, 300283, Nigeria. Department of Environmental Management & Toxicology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Benin, Private Mail Bag 1154, Benin City 300283, Nigeria.
(2) Centre for Forensic Programme and DNA Studies, University of Benin, Private Mail Bag 1154 Benin City, 300283, Nigeria. Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, School of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin, Benin City, 300283, Nigeria.
(3) Department of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. SAMRC Microbial Water Quality Monitoring Centre, University of Fort Hare, Alice 5700, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
Corresponding Author


Background: Poisoning is a common medico-social problem globally that results in significant morbidity and mortality. The extent of the problem differs among age groups, social-economic classes, and country to country. However, there is a dearth of information on the pattern of poisoning in adolescents in Nigeria.

Objective: The study aims to assess the poisoning pattern among adolescent patients admitted into Tertiary Care Hospitals in Nigeria.

Methods: In this study, a critical, constructive analysis of relevant literature on the subject areas of poisoning cases in tertiary care hospitals in Nigeria was carried out. Published cases between the periods of 2000 and 2019 were analysed.

Results: The study showed that 24 patients made up of 13 females and 11 males were involved in poisoning cases during the studied period (2000–2019). About 85% of the patients were aged 10–15 years, while 12.5% were aged 16–30 years. Most of the poisoning cases (83%) occurred at home. Accidental cases were 29.16%, while 70.8% of the cases were intentional. Among the 17 intentional cases, 28.6% were ingested for the hallucinating effect and 17.6%) were suicidal cases. The agents used for poisoning included organophosphates, plant extracts, alcohol, drugs, food, kerosene and herbal mixture, among others. Some reasons for poisoning or suicidal intent observed in the study include peer influence, edgy relationships in the family system, disagreement with parents, failure in examination, and clashes with the boyfriend.

Conclusion: There is a need for the government to establish poisoning control centres in each region of the country for proper profiling of the poisoning epidemic. Furthermore, parents and guardians are strongly advised to closely observe their teenage children and educate them about the dangers of any poisoning. Also, schools should provide friendly and accommodating environments to minimize and possibly eliminate suicidal intentions in youths and adolescents.


Adolescent, Medico-social, Organophosphates, Poisoning, Public Health, Suicidal

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