Maryland Poison Center Celebrates National Poison Prevention Week

Observed March 21-27, National Poison Prevention Week helps raise awareness about the dangers of poisonings and promotes steps that everyone can take to prevent them.

By Malissa Carroll
February 28, 2021

Since 1962, the third week of March has been celebrated by presidential decree as National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), providing poison centers across the country — including the Maryland Poison Center (MPC) — an opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of poisonings and highlight steps that everyone can take to prevent them. This year, NPPW will be observed March 21-27.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poisoning is the leading cause of injury death in the U.S., with most of these deaths caused by drug and medication misuse and abuse. The MPC — part of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy — is a 24-hour telephone service that offers free, fast, and confidential expert advice about poisonings and overdoses. It has provided poisoning treatment advice, education, and prevention services to individuals living across the state of Maryland since 1972, and is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) as a regional poison center.

“The MPC, along with the nation’s other 54 poison centers, is committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of every American through proactive poison prevention and free, confidential, and expert medical services,” says Bruce Anderson, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT, executive director of the MPC and professor in PPS. “The Center is staffed 24/7 by pharmacists and nurses who are certified as specialists in poison information and uniquely trained to help individuals who have been exposed to a poison or have questions about a potential poisoning.”

Although approximately one-third of the calls received by the MPC involve children younger than six years old, teens, adults, and seniors are also at risk for poisoning. To help prevent poisonings in your home, follow these tips from the MPC:

Individuals living in the state of Maryland can participate in NPPW by following the Maryland Poison Center on FacebookTwitter, and its eAntidote blog.

Families in Maryland who would like more information about poison prevention can request a poison safety packet for their homes. This packet contains information about poison safety, Mr. Yuk stickers, telephone stickers, and a magnet that can help families prevent or prepare for poisoning emergencies.

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