A sample of individuals who had carried out acts of self-poisoning or self-injury were interviewed and information was also obtained from their general practitioners. More of both the men and the women had visited their general practitioners in the year before the acts than would have been predicted from national statistics, although this was not found to the same extent for persons aged 16-24. Thirty-six per cent of the sample had contacted their general practitioners during the week before the act and over 60% in the month beforehand. Sixty-three per cent had visited them for a variety of psychiatric and social reasons during the preceding year and had nearly all been prescribed psychotropic drugs, usually tranquillizers or sedatives. These were commonly the drugs taken in acts of self-poisoning. Methods of prevention are discussed.