Definition: A poisoning is injury or death that occurs when a person is exposed to any natural or man-made substance that has an undesirable effect. A poison can be swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2017).
On average, approximately 3 children and adolescents ages 0-19 die from poisoning each day. Between 2016 and 2019, 483 children ages 0-9 and 3,867 adolescents ages 10-19 died from poisoning (CDC WISQARS, 2016-2019).
Educating the public on proper storage and disposal of medications is important, including education around keeping medicine, chemicals, cleaning products and batteries locked, out of sight and out of reach of children. School-based and family-focused programs on resilience and connectedness of adolescents may help prevent substance misuse and related harms. Strengthening policies and practices related to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), Good Samaritan Laws, and Naloxone and other harm reduction programs (e.g., overdose education, naloxone distribution, fentanyl test strips and syringe services) can also save lives.
Poison Control Centers can be valuable resources in helping to prevent poisonings in communities. They can also be cost-saving services for states: for every dollar spent on Poison Control Center services, $8 is saved in benefits to society (Children’s Safety Network, 2022). Save the toll-free Poison Help line number in your phone to connect to your local poison center: 1-800-222-12