Prevent Poisoning and Drug Overdose

Every year, poison control centers receive about 2.2 million calls from people seeking medical help for poisoning. It is the leading cause of unintentional death, surpassing even motor vehicle crashes, and includes inadvertent ingestion of drugs or chemicals, the excessive use of a drug and exposure to environmental substances.

Prescription Drug Overdose

The most common poisoning is from prescription drugs – particularly opioid pain medication. Every day, 52 people die from opioids. They become quickly addicted without realizing what's happening. The drugs are overprescribed by doctors, shared among family members and stolen from medicine cabinets. Children are misusing prescription drugs at an alarming rate, and even over-the-counter medications, like cold medicines and sleeping aids, can be dangerous. This epidemic is a major initiative of the National Safety Council. Start here to learn what we're doing to end it and how you can help – and be sure to keep the National Poison Control Center number, (800) 222-1222, on your phone.

Other Poisons in the Home

More than 90% of all poisonings happen at home. Familiarize yourself with the dangers that lurk there:

Poison Prevention Week

National Poison Prevention Week, the third week of March each year, focuses on the danger of drugs and other poisons and how to keep your family safe. Observed for more than 50 years, National Poison Prevention Week activities are a great way to start a conversation at your home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a wealth of information.