Services for adolescents who overdose remain variable in the UK despite College guidelines. The problem is significant in terms of the demand placed on services, the level of distress it represents and the high eventual mortality rate. This study was undertaken to gain an understanding of the local picture with a view to improving service provision. The study revealed a high level of psychiatric morbidity, considerable drug and alcohol misuse and paracetamol as the most commonly taken substance. The findings supported Hawton's classification into three distinct groups, confirming it as a simple but useful system. This may provide a means of screening adolescents who overdose to improve service delivery to those most in need within the resources available. The possible role of the primary child and adolescent mental health worker is discussed.
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