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 911 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
- Poisoning, which includes drug overdoses, is the leading cause of injury death in Massachusetts. Opioids, which include heroin, oxycodone, morphine, and other opium-like agents, were associated with 69% of these deaths in 2003. Cocaine was associated with 35% of these deaths. (Poisoning deaths can be associated with one or more agents.)
- From 1990 to 2003, the age-adjusted opioid-related poisoning death rate increased 530% among MA residents.
- Poisoning is the second leading cause of injury-related inpatient hospitalizations in Massachusetts; fifty-three percent of these were self-inflicted.
(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.
For More 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: