Painkiller overdoses top reason for poison center calls: report

Alexandria, VA – The majority of calls to poison control centers in the United States in 2010 involved painkiller overdoses, followed by calls related to cosmetics and personal care products, according to an annual report (.pdf file) from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Poison Data System, which tracks phone calls related to poison exposure at the 57 poison control centers throughout the country.

The report found that of the 3.9 million calls taken in 2010:

  • About 81 percent of poison exposures were unintentional.
  • Of the 1,730 deaths associated with calls fielded by poison control centers, 139 were for individuals younger than 20, including 55 for those younger than 6.
  • About 71 percent of calls did not require visits to an emergency department.

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