March 20th through 26th is National Poison Prevention Week. Our friends at the Regional Poison Center in Omaha, who also work closely with the Wyoming Department of Health, indicate that a focus of next week will be on medication safety.
Joan McVoy is a registered nurse and the Director or Education with the Center. She says that medications accounted for more than half of the over 9,000 calls to Wyoming's Poison Center in 2010. She offers common sense advice for both children and adults. With children, she tells us.
McVoy also says that when you have visitors to your home, help them find safe places to put their medications where curious little hands can't find them – in other words, not in their luggage.
As for adults, McVoy advises.
Poisoning has surpassed falls to become the nation's second-leading cause of unintentional deaths. In some states, she says, it is the number one reason for unintentional deaths. McVoy says most Americans believe that children are at greatest risk of poisoning deaths, when actually, 96% of poisoning deaths occur in adults.
She adds that drug-related poisonings are often due to misuse or overdose of opioid analgesics used to treat pain, including hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone.
There is always someone ready to answer questions or take emergency calls at the center, McVoy assures us; they can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling the Nebraska Regional Poison Center: 800-222-1222