The non-fatal deliberate taking of overdoses in Cork city during 1982 was investigated from records in the general hospitals. In one of the hospitals, those attending after an overdose were personally interviewed. For both sexes, the greatest incidence of overdoses was in the younger groups; for females, there was a seasonal variation. Those taking overdoses were grouped by electoral wards, and the social characteristics of these wards determined. The frequency varied greatly throughout the city; some wards, particularly in corporation northern estates and part of the city centre, showed a rate of up to three times the average; these areas were the most likely to show social deprivation.