Pesticide regulation in Sri Lanka led to 70% fall in suicides

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Sri Lanka is the best-studied country to prove that regulations to prohibit the use of highly hazardous pesticides can lead to reductions in national suicide rates.A WHO publication issued yesterday (09), for the World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, read that a series of such bans in Sri Lanka has led to a 70% fall in suicides and an estimated 93 000 lives saved between 1995 and 2015.

The intervention that has the most imminent potential to bring down the number of suicides is restricting access to pesticides that are used for self-poisoning, the WHO pointed out.“The high toxicity of many pesticides means that such suicide attempts often lead to death, particularly in situations where there is no antidote or where there are no medical facilities nearby,” the release read further.

Despite the increase in the number of countries with national suicide prevention strategies in the five years since the publication of WHO’s first global report on suicide, the one person dies every 40 seconds from suicide, the WHO said.The most common methods of suicide are hanging, pesticide self-poisoning, and firearms, the release emphasized.