Substances involved in fatal drug overdoses in Brisbane, 1979-1987

Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 1989;354:69-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.1989.tb03049.x.


Suicide rates may be reduced by decreasing the availability, cultural acceptance or lethality of certain methods of suicide. With these principles in mind fatal overdoses in Brisbane 1979-1987 were surveyed for substances involved. Psychotropic agents, especially barbiturates predominated. Chloral hydrate was far the most commonly implicated single compound. A case is put for curtailing the availability of barbiturates and chloral hydrate. This combined with increasing detection of depressed persons may lead to a further rise in overdoses involving antidepressants which as a group require reduction in their lethality.

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drug Overdose / mortality*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Psychotropic Drugs / poisoning
  • Queensland / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*


  • Psychotropic Drugs