The Poison Prevention Program is administered by the Injury Prevention and Control Program in partnership with the Regional Center for Poison Prevention and Control. The mission of the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention is to provide assistance and expertise in the medical diagnosis, management and prevention of poisonings in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In 2014, the Center managed approximately 45,000 poison exposure and information calls. The Center is located at Children's Hospital, Boston, and operates a toll-free, 24-hour phone line for poisoning emergencies and information.

In a poison emergency, call the Regional Center at 1-800-222-1222 (TTY: 1-888-244-5313).

If you Think Someone has Been Poisoned

Call the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention serving Massachusetts and Rhode Island at 1-800-222-1222 (TTY: 1-888-244-5313) right away. Do not wait for the victim to look or feel sick. Do not try to treat the person yourself. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 9-1-1 for an ambulance.

When you call the Poison Control Center, take the poison with you to the phone. You may be asked to read information from the bottle's label. You also will be asked to give:

  • Victim's age and weight
  • Any symptoms the victim has related to the poisoning
  • Time that the poisoning took place
  • Name of the substance or poison
  • Amount of the substance or poison
  • Any current health problems of the victim
  • Any medicines the victim is taking

Statistics 2013

  • 70% of all calls to the Poison Center were successfully treated at the side of the exposure – thus eliminating the need for the cost of an emergency room visit.
  • 21% of the calls were from healthcare professionals who requested clinical consultations from toxicologists
  • 56% of exposures were from drugs (Top 5 drug exposures were from analgesics, sedatives/hypnotics/antipsychotics, topical preparations, antidepressants and stimulants and street drugs).
  • The remaining 44% of exposures were from items such as household cleaning products, cosmetic/personal care products and plants

Prevention Tips

(From Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention and American Association of Poison Control Centers)

  • Keep all hazardous materials in locked cabinets and out of reach of children.
  • Put safety latches on drawers and cabinets containing harmful household products.
  • Store all household products and medications in the original containers with the original labels on them.
  • Do not leave children alone with household products or medications. When using a product, take children with you if you leave the room.
  • Return household products to safe storage right after use.
  • Buy products in child-resistant packaging, when available.
  • Read all medication labels carefully
  • Never refer to medication as candy.
  • Store food and cleaners separately.
  • Place carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
  • Keep children away from any poisonous plants that may be in or around your home.
  • Watch children carefully when playing indoors and outdoors.
  • Post the number for the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention (1-800-222-1222) near all telephones in your home.

Related Links

Additional Information

Visit the Regional Center for Poison Control and Prevention at www.maripoisoncenter.com or call 800-222-1222. TTY: 1-888-244-5313 or contact the Department of Public Health Poison Prevention Program:
Waqaas Bhutta
Waqaas.Bhutta@State.MA.US
617-994-9846


This information is provided by the Injury Prevention and Control Program within the Department of Public Health.