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Announcements: National Poison Prevention Week, 50th Anniversary — March 18–24, 2012

This year commemorates the 50th anniversary of National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW), which will be observed March 18–24. Each year, the observance of NPPW is organized by the Poison Prevention Week Council, a coalition of partners working to raise awareness about poison prevention across wide-ranging disciplines.*

Since passage of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act in 1970, the child-resistant packaging required on many medicines and toxic substances has saved hundreds of lives (1). However, child poisoning, particularly from medicines, remains a public health problem. Each year, approximately 60,000 emergency department visits and half a million calls to poison control centers are made because young children have gotten into medicines (2,3). A CDC-led public-private partnership, PROTECT, has developed the Up and Away and Out of Sight program to remind a new generation of caregivers about the importance of safe medicine storage.

NPPW also serves to focus attention on the substantial increase in the number of poisoning deaths among youths and adults during the past decade. In 2008, poisoning became the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States (4). Nearly 90% of poisoning deaths involved drugs, and approximately half of those involved prescription medications. Of the prescription medication overdose deaths, 74% involved opioid analgesics (5). NPPW provides a reminder of the many opportunities available for reversing these trends (2,6).

Additional information about carbon monoxide poisoning, lead poisoning, and other unintentional poisonings is available from CDC at,, and, respectively. Additional poison prevention information is available at The national Poison Help line can be reached toll-free by dialing 1-800-222-1222.


  1. Rodgers G. The safety effects of child-resistant packaging for oral prescription drugs: two decades of experience. JAMA 1996;275:1661–5.
  2. Budnitz DS, Salis S. Preventing medication overdoses in young children: an opportunity for harm elimination. Pediatrics 2011;127:e1597–9.
  3. Bronstein AC, Spyker DA, Cantilena LR Jr, Green JL, Rumack BH, Dart RC. 2010 annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS): 28th annual report. Clin Toxicol (Phila) 2011;49:910–41.
  4. Warner M, Chen LH, Makuc DM, Anderson RN, Miniño AM. Drug poisoning deaths in the United States, 1980–2008. NCHS data brief, no. 81. Hyattsville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics, CDC; 2011. Available at Accessed March 6, 2012.
  5. CDC. Vital Signs: overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers—United States, 1999–2008. MMWR 2011;60:1487–92.
  6. CDC. Policy impact: prescription painkiller overdoses. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2011. Available at Accessed March 6, 2012.

* Additional information available at

Additional information available at and

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