Rat poison dominant in suicide cases: police

‘It’s available in powder, tablet, paste forms in almost all shops’

May 22, 2019 08:06 pm | Updated 08:06 pm IST


Ramanathapuram district has witnessed 1,181 people, including 395 women, dying by suicide in the last three and a half years. For almost all those who had consumed poison, the easily available rodenticides, rat poison, had come in handy.

A total of 351 people had died in 2016, followed by 357 in 2017, 299 in 2018 and 174 till May 20, 2019 by consuming poison or hanging or self-immolation or by other means – jumping before trains or drowning.

Suicide by consuming poison topped the list with 381 cases during this period and the victims, mostly women, had ended their lives by consuming rat poison for the simple reason that it was available freely even in petty shops.

“Rat poison was found in almost 99% of cases of suicide by consuming poison due to its free and easy availability,” Superintendent of Police Omprakash Meena said. As pesticides and insecticides were available in select shops and the sales were limited to farmers, victims ‘preferred’ the easily available rat poison, police said.

Though shopkeepers were supposed to note down the names of consumers and issue receipts while selling rat poison, the system was seldom followed, they said. Rat poison was available in powder, tablet and paste forms in almost all shops, they said.

As cases of suicide by consuming rat poison were high, it was high time the authorities imposed some kind of restrictions to regulate the sale of rat poison, they felt. The authorities could invoke the provisions of The Poisons Act, 1919, to regulate the sale, they suggested.

Pointing that the Centre had asked the State government to ban over-the-counter sale of acid to curb growing incidents of attacks on women five years ago, the officials suggested that a similar ban could be imposed to regulate the sale of rat poison.

Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.

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