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Unintentional Poisonings

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  • Unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death in Oklahoma, followed by motor vehicle crashes.
  • Poisonings can be caused by many substances, including prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, carbon monoxide, chemicals, and even water.
  • More than three out of four unintentional poisoning deaths involve prescription drugs.
  • Other common substances involved in unintentional poisoning deaths are methamphetamine, alcohol, and cocaine.
  • Prescription painkillers (opioids) are 4 of the top 5 medications responsible for unintentional poisoning deaths of Oklahomans.
  • More unintentional poisoning deaths involve hydrocodone or oxycodone than all illegal drugs and alcohol combined.
  • Oklahoma has one of the highest rates in the nation of prescribing opioid painkillers.
  • Adults aged 35-54 have the highest rates of unintentional poisoning death.
  • Men are much more likely to die of an unintentional poisoning compared to women; however, women aged 45 and older have higher unintentional prescription drug-related overdose mortality rates than men.


  • If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, react to this true medical emergency by calling 911 immediately.
  • Only take medications as prescribed and never take more than the recommended dosage.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs at your local drop box. To find a location near you, visit: https://portal.obn.ok.gov/takeback
  • Keep pain medications in a safe place to avoid theft and access to children.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Never drink alcohol while taking medication.
  • Call 211 for help finding treatment referrals.
  • Put the poison center number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and save it on your cell phone. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Injury Prevention Service, OSDH, 1000 NE 10th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Revised April 2015

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