A peculiar trend of suicide has gripped the city during past one year. You might say what is peculiar about this trend, as most cities like Nagpur are facing the wrath of modernity in terms of more suicidal psyche. The difference about this trend is that Nagpur has topped the list of cities where maximum number of people has committed suicide by consuming poison. Blame it on the rising pressure of modernity, hectic working hours and tough competitive scenario, the trend has badly taken its toll on Nagpur. While farmers’ suicide attributes majorly to the region, there are more city people drawing towards taking the extreme step.
Statistics from the Forensic Science laboratory in Kalina, Mumbai reveal that a whopping 5,947 people died due to consumption of poison so far this year, statewide. While Nagpur topped the list, Mumbai came second with 1,314 deaths, said the FSL report.
All medico-legal cases in the state, suicides included, are referred to FSL by the police for viscera analysis. The FSL has been operational since 1978 and has four departments — prohibition, biology, general analytical and instrumental and toxicology.
MK Malve, the director of the Forensic Science Laboratory, said: “Of the viscera samples sent to us for analysis by the police, most tested positive for poison. Nagpur tops the list because of the farmer suicides in Vidarbha. They use chemical pesticides to commit suicide.”
Out of the 6,404 viscera samples that came to the FSL from Nagpur, 2,992 tested positive for poison. Aurangabad ranked fourth followed by Pune.
Commenting on the Nagpur figures, Dr BK Sharma, renowned ENT surgeon in Nagpur, said “Mode of suicide depends on easy availability and accessibility. In villages, where there are many wells, people favour drowning as a mode of suicide. In the US, gunshot is a common method of suicide. In Europe, it is hanging.”
Dr Sharma said that the sale of poisons should be monitored to bring down the number of suicides in the city. “Selling of poisonous substances needs to be monitored and controlled. For example, in hospitals, accessibility to anaesthetic drugs is being monitored.”
Agreeing with Dr Sharma, Sanjeevani hospital orthopaedic Dr Karandikar said that poisoning oneself was considered an easy way of suicide. “Poison is easily available in every home. People with suicidal ideas feel poison can be ingested easily and gives a painless death,” he said.
But regulating the sale of poisons has been proven to be effective, experts said. Psychiatrist Dr Shubhangi Parker, who is also dean of KEM Hospital, Mumbai said, “Overdose of drugs like sleeping pills was a very common mode of suicide. With the FDA getting strict, pharmacists now ensure the drugs are not sold without proper prescription. I think poisons that are loosely available in the market need to be regulated. She added that that while suicidal ideation could not be restricted, a better job could be done of identifying the people going through depression and therefore being prone to suicidal ideas.
Dr. Parker linked the suicides with the fast-paced life in the city. “There is lot of frustration and low tolerance level among Mumbaikars. Factors such as competitive life, less opportunity to stabilise in career, unstable inter-personal relationships, and the rising cost of living have driven many people to depression,” said Dr Parker.