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MT 19 October 2014

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maltatoday, Sunday, 19 OctOber 2014 News 7 James Debono 19 out of 143 patients who gave a reason for poisoning themselves with a drug claimed that they did so after a "domestic fight", a study published in the Malta Medical Jour- nal shows. The study also shows that women aged be- tween 50 and 59 were the most likely to poi- son themselves with prescription drugs or analgesics while men aged between 20 and 29 were the most likely to poison themselves with alcohol and street drugs. Suicidal intent was admitted by 59 pa- tients, which amounts to 40% of the 143 pa- tients who gave a reason for their acute self poisoning. Self-harm was the reported intention in three per cent of cases. Other reasons given for acute self poison- ing included 'to forget' (11%), 'to sleep' (5%) and pain relief (1%). Alcohol and substance abuse constituted 8% and 14% of cases re- spectively. Only one per cent admitted that they were seeking attention while two per cent of cases were accidental. The study was based on clinical and labo- ratory data of 677 patients aged 14 years and over, presented with suspected acute poi- soning, over a nine-month period in 2010. Of these, 236 cases involved alcohol in- toxication while 109 cases involved abuse of street drugs. Prescription drugs were used in 265 cases while analgesics were used in 30 cases. The peak age for males and females with acute poisoning was 20-29 years while an- other peak was observed for females in the 50-59 years group. Males predominated in the younger age groups (below 50 years). However the male predominance among younger age groups is likely to be due to the inclusion of alcohol intoxication and street drug abuse as shown in the female predomi- nance in the subgroup that excluded these cases. In fact when cases involving alcohol and street drugs are excluded females outnum- ber males in all age groups except 30 to 50 year olds. Females aged between 50 to 59 years were the most likely to poison themselves. The most common poison agents were pre- scription drugs, of which benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants were the most common (43% and 20% respectively). Opi- ates were the most commonly detected (59%) and paracetamol was the most com- monly ingested analgesic (36.6%). None of the patients died in the hospital. 21% (73/350) and 5% (19/350) of patients with confirmed poisoning required a moni- tored bed and intensive care respectively. The study was conducted by Robert Camilleri, a consultant general for acute medicine at Mater Dei Hospital. Ghadira boathouses get five-year lease renewal Domestic quarrels among reasons for self-poisoning THe government has given the green light to a scheme for the lease of the Ghadira Bay rooms and cara- vans in Mellieha to existing lease holders or occupiers. Lease holders or occupiers of rooms or caravans situated within the site have to apply for a five-year lease. The boathouses were granted legal title when they were moved from one side of Mellieha bay to the other. Participation in the scheme shall be obligatory, and the term of lease will be of five years starting 1 Janu- ary, 2015, at a fixed rent of €500 per annum. Where the current annual rent being paid by an applicant exceeds €500, the applicable rent shall be re- duced to €500. On expiry of the five-year term pe- riod, the tenant shall have the option of renewal of the lease agreement on the same conditions of the origi- nal lease, with the exception of the rent, which shall be increased in ac- cordance with an ad hoc valuation to be carried out by a government appointed architect at the time of renewal. Any increase shall not be less than that reflected in the index of inflation. The renewal will be at the sole discretion of the Commissioner of Land. Lessees shall keep the structure in a good state of repair and shall effect any necessary repairs and mainte- nance, including structural mainte- nance, if the need arises, as well as all other repair and maintenance which according to law, are to be carried out by the lessee. Subletting or the assignment of the structure in any form is strictly prohibited.

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