Who Do I Call If I Think Someone Has Been Poisoned?

Posted in:
Tweens / Teens
Poison Safety & Prevention

According to the CDC, poisoning is the No. 1 cause of injury death in the U. S., with most deaths happening due to drug and medicine misuse and abuse. More than 3.1 million calls were received by poison centers last year.

Anyone can call. Poison centers aren’t just for parents whose children get into a cleaning product. Approximately half of those calls involved children under the age of six but the majority of deaths and serious cases occurred in teens and adults involving medications. According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, poisoning causes 35,000 deaths each year. Drug-related poisonings result in nearly 700,000 emergency room trips each year.

Poison centers are open 24/7/365. A call to the poison center is free to the public and confidential. The calls are managed by health professionals, including registered nurses, pharmacists and physicians. These health professionals all have special training in poison management. A majority of the calls to poison centers can be managed at home and will save money and time by avoiding unnecessary emergency department visits.

Anywhere in the country, when people call 1-800-222-1222, they are connected immediately to their poison center. This number should be programmed in all phones and posted in homes, schools and businesses.

Here are a few helpful tips:


  • Read and follow the directions and warnings on the label before taking any medicine, each time you take it. If you have any questions about how to take your medicine, contact your doctor, pharmacist or poison center.
  • Some medicines just don’t play well with others. They can be dangerous or not work as well if they are taken with alcohol, other drugs or certain foods and drinks. Ask your doctor or pharmacist what you should be aware of when you take medicine.
  • Make sure your doctor knows about everything you are taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal remedies.
  • Turn lights on to take medicines so that you can be sure of what you’re taking.
  • Get rid of old and outdated medicines as soon as you don’t need them anymore. Some medications can become dangerous or ineffective over time. Other medicines can be abused by someone looking through your medicine stock. If you don’t know the correct way to get rid of these medicines, call the poison center or click here for instructions.
  • Never share prescription medicines. Medicines should be taken by the person for whom it was prescribed and for the reason prescribed.
  • If you have a poisoning emergency, call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Household and Chemical Products

  • Keep potential poisons in their original containers.
  • DO NOT use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.
  • Store food and household chemical products in separate areas. Mistaking one for the other could cause a serious poisoning.
  • Read and follow the directions and caution labels on household chemical products before using them.
  • Never mix household chemical products together. Mixing chemicals could create a poisonous gas.
  • Turn on fans and open windows when using chemical products indoors.
  • When spraying household chemical products, make sure the spray nozzle is directed away from your face and other people.
  • Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, shoes and gloves, when spraying pesticides and other chemicals. Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin and can be extremely poisonous.
  • Stay away from areas that have recently been sprayed until they are dry.
  • Don’t sniff chemical containers if you don’t know what is inside.
  • Discard old or outdated household chemical products. First aid instructions on product containers may be incorrect or outdated.
  • Keep the Poison Help number (1-800-222-1222) on or near home phones and programmed into cellphones.
  • If you come in contact with something that might be poison, call the Texas Poison Center Network at 1-800-222-1222.

Remember, the Texas Poison Center Network is here to help you. So if you find yourself in any possible poisoning situation or you just have a poison related question, please do not hesitate to call 1-800-222-1222 for some free expert advice, 24 hours a day!