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Unintentional Poisoning

From 2011-2015, more than 3,500 Oklahomans died of an unintentional poisoning. Poisonings can be caused by many substances such as prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, carbon monoxide, chemicals, gases, and even water. Prescription drugs are the most common substances involved in unintentional poisoning deaths in Oklahoma. Seven out of ten unintentional poisoning deaths involve prescription drugs and more than four out of five prescription drug-related overdose deaths involve prescription painkillers.

Unintentional poisoning mortality rates tripled in the United States from 1999-2014 and increased fivefold in Oklahoma during the same period. In 2014, Oklahoma had the eighth highest unintentional poisoning mortality rate in the United States. Unintentional poisoning is the leading cause of injury death for Oklahomans aged 25-64.

Recommendations for preventing prescription drug poisoning:

  • Take medications as prescribed; never take more than prescribed.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs. To dispose of unused or expired medications at a location near you, visit: https://portal.obn.ok.gov/takeback
  • Keep all medications in a safe place that can only be reached by people who take or give them.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Never drink alcohol while taking medication.
  • Put the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information number, 1-800-222-1222, on or near every home telephone and cell phone for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access.

Additional recommendations to protect children:

  • Avoid taking medicine in front of children.
  • Do not call medicine “candy.”
  • Do not let house guests leave drugs where children can find them, for example, in a pillbox, purse, backpack, or coat pocket.
  • When taking medicines, do not put the next dose on the counter or table where children can reach them.
  • Never leave children alone with household products or drugs.

Contact Us

Injury Prevention Service
Oklahoma State Department of Health
1000 N.E. 10th Street, Room 408 - Map to OSDH
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73117
Telephone: (405) 271-3430
Fax: (405) 271-2799

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you need information about medicines or other substances?
A: Call the Oklahoma Center for Poison and Drug Information toll-free at 1-800-222-1222

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