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Poison Prevention Resources

Poison Prevention Media Outreach

Members of OPA's Public & Professional Relations Committee has created a sample news release for you to utilize to promote Poison Prevention Week. By using this template, you can simply modify this document and send to local media. Your outreach efforts are crucial to spreading the word about poison prevention and the important role pharmacists play as a resource in the community. Be sure to let us know if your story gets picked up by the media!


This website has been established to provide public information about the events associated with National Poison Prevention Week, the steps that you can take to help prevent accidental poisonings and tips for promoting community involvement in poison prevention.

American Academy of Pediatrics

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the American Association of Poison Control Centers, and the Poison Prevention Week Council reported on the performance of the new national toll-free telephone number for poison control centers. The new number, (800) 222-1222, launched on January 30, 2002, for the first time provides everyone in the U.S. with free access — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — to their regional poison center. In just the first full month of  peration, the toll-free number received 44,000 calls about potential poisonings.

Teaching 6th Graders About Over-the-Counter Medicine Safety

Sixth grade marks the start of middle school for many American 11-year-olds. Research also indicates that it is the age that children begin to self-medicate. With that in mind, Scholastic and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) have launched OTC Literacy, an educational campaign to raise awareness about over-the-counter medicine safety. The program is tailored to 6th graders and emphasizes that while OTC medicines are safe when used properly, it is critical to consult a parent or guardian before taking any medication.

You can download all of the OTC Literacy materials on the new website, 

Pre-teen Poisonings and Inhalants

Pre-teen poisoning is most commonly seen with inhalants. One in five students in America has used an inhalant by the time he or she reaches the eighth grade. Inhalants are common and found in the house, schools, and many other places. They are also inexpensive and easy to hide. Some common inhalants include: spray paint, keyboard cleaner, gasoline, cooking spray, whipped cream, lighter fluid, rubber cement, nail polish remover, and spray deodorant. Education is needed to help decrease not only the health risks associated with this, but also “sudden sniffing death syndrome” which can occur the first time a student uses an inhalant. Resources provided on this page from Tracey Frame, R.Ph., PharmD, of OPA's Poison Prevention Subcommittee, include education activities for teachers as well as numerous other websites with information such as signs of a user, how to get someone help, prevention material, and more.

Here are some additional resources you can utilize.

National Council on Patient Information and Education

One of the original patient safety coalitions, NCPIE works to advance thesafe, appropriate use of medicines through enhanced communication. 

The Two Poison Centers in Ohio

When in doubt, contact the poison hotline at (800) 222-1222!

The Cincinnati Drug and Poison Information Center (DPIC) at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center - (513) 636-5111

Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital - (614) 355-0435


CDC Poison Prevention Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has several great resources and statistics that pharmacists can use for educating patients and members of their community about preventing unintentional poisonings.

National Capital Poison Center

NCPC is an independent not-for-profit associated with George Washington University Medical Center. Their site includes presentations with video, handouts, presenter's guide, powerpoint slides, and more. These are all fantastic, easy-to-use resources for pharmacists.

Adult Poison Prevention Resources

The OPA Poison Prevention Subcommittee has created is a list of resources that pharmacists can utilize that covers poison prevention in adults. Those can be viewed here.

Poison Prevention in the Elderly

Kathy Karas, R.Ph., and the OPA Poison Prevention Subcommittee have created a special piece specifically on poisonings in the elderly. That piece can be viewed here.

HHS Health Resources and Services Administration

The HRSA has a plethora of resources, including a Poison Prevention Week Planner. There are also statistics, programs, news articles, tip sheets, newsletters, videos, and even a poison prevention ringtone!

Also, check out their Poison Emergency Checklist!

Ohio Department of Health Burden of Injury Report 2000-2010

The ODH Violence and Injury Prevention Program (VIPP) released their first comprehensive Burden of Injury in Ohio report in 2013.  The report uses multiple data sources (death certificates, hospital and ED data, behavioral risk factor surveillance, CDC cost estimates, etc.) to provide a comprehensive picture of the burden of injury in our state.

The report presents the epidemiology of injury over time and across the lifespan.  There are also detailed chapters focusing on injury by intent (i.e., homicide, suicide, unintentional) and mechanism (e.g., motor vehicle traffic, bicycle, pedestrian, poisoning, suffocation, falls, firearms).   These chapters also have focused sections (e.g., infant suffocation, falls among older adults, drug overdose/poisoning) to describe the populations most vulnerable to specific injuries in Ohio.  Each chapter provides detailed tables presenting the respective injury and violence numbers and rates by age group and sex (and race for death data) over time.   In addition, there are important chapters addressing traumatic brain injury and the economic burden of injury in Ohio. View the report here.

Pets and Poisoning

Each year, thousands of calls about pet poisonings are made to Poison Control Centers in the US. Many pet poisonings can be prevented using some simple guidelines about keeping specific plants, pesticides, certain foods and medications out of a pet’s reach. Read more on these topics, using the following links:

There are also several articles on this topic:
American Journal of Health Education, May/June 2010, Vol 41, #3, pp139-146----by Jones PR, et al. "The Impact of Poison Prevention Education on the Knowledge and Behaviors of Seniors. This article shows a study shows significant impact on Seniors once they are aware of why problems occur-- that can prevent future problems from arising. This holds true, also with the recent NEJM article showcasing a geriatric group evaluating ED visits and subsequent hospital admissions due to certain key problems associated with a few commonly used drug classes. NEJM, Vol 365, #21, 2002-2012 "Emergency Hospitalizations for Adverse Drug Events in Older Americans, by Budnitz DS, et al.

Media Outreach Examples

Check out OPA Poison Prevention Subcommittee member put these resources to work in an interview she did with WKYC Cleveland on surprising poisonous products:

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