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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 28, 2004


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2004;292(4):510. doi:10.1001/jama.292.4.510

The increase of suicide has come to be such a marked feature of social statistics in this country that physicians must be made to realize the possibilities there may be of bringing about a decrease in this unfortunate matter by more care and prevision. Suicides are somewhat more than twice as frequent now as they were ten years ago. During the last ten years poison has replaced shooting as the most frequent method of taking life. The poison most frequently used is carbolic acid, which almost anyone under any circumstances can procure without let or hindrance. About five out of every six cases of suicide by poison are accomplished by carbolic acid. It seems very probable that if physicians would bear in mind the increasing tendency to suicide and would suggest the taking of precautions against it more frequently by attendants and friends, and would lend their influence to have legislatures prevent the free retailing of carbolic acid as at the present time, there would be a decrease in the mortality from suicide.

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