An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Newark, NJ— The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES), known to many as the NJ Poison Control Center, will join poison centers and poison prevention partners across the country in celebrating the 55th Annual National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), March 19-25, 2017. This week is dedicated to raising awareness about poisoning in the U.S. and highlighting specific ways to prevent it. In New Jersey, NJPIES is actively involved in all aspects of poisoning and the public’s health, from prevention to treatment and outreach.

The National Poisoning Prevention Council, a group of representatives from a diverse array of stakeholder organizations and the official sponsor of NPPW, has established the following overarching themes of National Poison Prevention Week: Children Act Fast, So Do Poisons and Poisonings Span a Lifetime. Additionally, the following daily themes will be observed during the week:

• Monday, March 20 – Children Act Fast … So Do Poisons
• Tuesday, March 21 – Poison Centers: Saving You Time and Money
• Wednesday, March 22 – Poisonings Span a Lifetime
• Thursday, March 23 – Home, Safe Home
• Friday, March 24 – Medication Safety

Individuals and organizations who would like to follow social media content pertaining to NPPW should use and search for the hashtags #NPPW17 and #PreventPoison to learn how to prevent injuries and stay poison safe. The NJ Poison Control Center will be posting daily during the celebratory week.

From the youngest to the oldest, all people and even pets are at risk. Since most unintentional poisonings are preventable, it is important for the public to know that their local poison center is their primary defense against injury and death from poisoning. More than half of all reported poison exposures involve children five years old and younger. Although the majority of nonfatal poisonings occur in young children, the majority of fatal poisonings (deaths) occur in adults. Most are due to the misuse and abuse of legal (prescription medicine and over-the-counters) and illegal (street and synthetic drugs).

Drug overdose deaths including those from prescription and heroin remain at epidemic proportions for both New Jersey and the nation, and continue to rise. In recent months, Governor Christie has declared the opioid drug abuse crisis as a public health priority for the Garden State. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists New Jersey among the states with the highest increase in opioid overdose deaths. In the event of a drug overdose, don’t waste time. If a person is unconscious, not breathing, seizing/convulsing, bleeding, difficult to wake up, etc. call 9-1-1 immediately, otherwise call the NJ Poison Experts at (1-800-222-1222).

Exposures can happen anywhere to anyone regardless of age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. While the majority of poisonings happen in the home, they can also occur in the workplace, schools, and healthcare facilities. Such injuries often involve different kinds of substances and occur in many ways-from medicines to pesticides to cleaning and car maintenance products to food poisoning and foreign bodies (disc batteries, high-powered magnets, coins). “Anything can be a poison if it’s used in the wrong way, in the wrong amount, or by the wrong person; the dose determines how toxic something is or isn’t in the body,” says Diane P. Calello, MD, Executive and Medical Director of NJPIES. “We want our residents to have peace of mind in knowing that we are here to help with the most routine.

 

written by:
Diane P. Calello, MD, Executive and Medical Director
Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., Director, Drug Information and Professional Education