Revealed! Many South Africans Commit And Attempt Suicide With Rat Poison


Psychologists can pretty much explain everything about human mind and behaviors, so they’ve told whoever cares to know that humans, who try to take their own life essentially see suicide as a permanent solution to their predicament(s). The reasons to commit or attempt suicide according to the human mind experts ranges from depression, being psychotic, attempting to get attention, substance abuse, to being philosophically motivated.

In all the given excuses and explanations for attempting to or killing one’s self, the unsympathetic cynic will insist suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice as it takes more courage for one to live against all odds than self-murder.

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According to World Health Organization (WHO), people intentionally kill themselves every 40 seconds where as an attempt on self-killing is made every 3 seconds. In South Africa the average suicide is 17.2 per 100 000 (8% of all deaths). And the outrageous figure relates only to deaths reported by academic hospitals.

Meanwhile, a media statement released by Gauteng Health Province this week further revealed the increasing and alarming nature of suicide in South Africa. The shocking statistics gathered from 10 state-run mortuaries showed a rise in attempted suicides using rat poison available on the streets in the Province. The media statement stated that “deaths due to poison rose from 362 in 2012/13 to 516 in 2014/15. BhekiMlangeni District Hospital attended to 40 cases of attempted suicide in July 2015, alone.”

“The poison of choice seems to be rodenticides which are superwarfarins and commonly known as“halephirimi”. However, alternate forms of rodenticides are imported illegally into the country and may be ingested either accidentally or in suicide attempts.”

Dr Richard Lebethe, the Acting Deputy Director-General; Clinical Services said this poison of choice “is one of the truly unpleasant poisons, along with Paracetamol/Acetylminopren.  Rat poisoning causes general bodily bleeding including cerebral, peritoneal and organs with a high likelihood of death…In many instances people arrive at hospitals with minimal chances of survival and many die in agony or are sent to intensive care units.”

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To avoid the pain family members are forced to endure by their suicidal relatives, Parents and relatives were informed that their relatives likely to commit, or attempt suicide have easy access to the rat poisons which are readily available on streets, and that “those who die from suicide have attempted it before.”

There are specialized health interventions that can help save the people who attempt suicide by drinking rat poison, the health department stated. It is however dependent on the timing of the intervention. Rat poison causes organophosphate like poisoning which goes with abdominal pains, vomiting, diarrhea, severe oral  secretions and lung secretions. As such, the media document warned that even when the patients are saved, they are likely to develop neurological side effects including psychosis.

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