The drug poisoning (overdose): age aspect of the problem

  • Authors: N.V. Kurdil
  • UDC: 615.099/056.2
  • DOI: 10.33273/2663-4570-2022-92-1-84-96
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LI Medved’s Research Centre of Preventive Toxicology, Food and Chemical Safety, Ministry of Health, Ukraine (State Enterprise), Kyiv, Ukraine


Abstract. Relevance. In recent decades, age groups among drug users have changed in many countries around the world. A person's age significantly influences the choice of drug, which in turn determines the state of his physical and mental health and life expectancy.

Aim. To study the age structure of drug poisoning (overdose) among the adult population of a large city (Kyiv) to determine measures to improve the effectiveness of medical care and prevention of socially significant poisoning among the working population.

Materials and Methods. Medical data of patients diagnosed with "Acute drug poisoning" (ICD-10:T40.0-T40.3) were studied. Chemical-analytical studies were performed using immunochromatographic analysis, gas and liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Statistical data processing was performed using analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Fisher's test at p≤0,05.

Results. In the period 1990–2020, the Kyiv Toxicology Center provided medical care to about 60,000 patients with acute poisoning, among whom the age groups predominated: 30–39 years and 40–49 years. During this period, about 28,000 patients with drug poisoning (overdose) were treated, most of whom were patients aged 20–39 years. It was found that among people with opioid poisoning the age group of 20–29 years decreased (p = 0,0285) and the age group of 30–39 years increased (p = 0,0343). In other age groups: 15–19 years (p = 0,9211), 40–49 years (p = 0,8047), 50–59 years (p = 0,5879), over 60 years (p = 0,09) statistically significant changes were not observed. Among the stimulants of psychostimulants were dominated by age groups: 15–19 years, 20–29 years and 30–39 years, but statistically significant changes in the age structure of patients were not observed. There were also no statistically significant changes in the age groups of patients with combined poisoning. In 1990–2020, a decrease in hospital mortality was found among patients with drug poisoning (overdose) in the age group 15–19 years (p = 0,0144), in other groups no statistically significant changes were found. Deaths from overdoses are mostly males aged 20–49 (95,1 %).

Conclusions. According to the results of research, it is established that among patients with drug poisoning (overdose) predominate young people – 20–39 years. There is a gradual decrease in the age group of 20–29 years and an increase in the age group of 30–39 years, which may be due to the "maturation" of this cohort of drug users. No statistically significant increase in the age of drug users was found, this cohort remains young in contrast to the United States and the EU, where a cohort of consumers (mostly opioids) aged 50 and older is gradually increasing.

Key Words: drugs, poisoning, age.



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