State report indicates common drugs are leading cause of poisoning

The Washington Poison Center (WAPC) recorded more than 70,000 cases of humans and animals exposed to toxic substances in 2009. Adults accounted for nearly 36 percent of the human exposure cases. The most common calls‚ accounting for over half of those placed to the center’s 24-hour hotline, were about prescription and over-the-counter substances.

According to the State Department of Health, poisonings and drug overdoses remain the leading causes of unintentional injury-related deaths in Washington state, surpassing motor vehicle crashes.

The Poison Center’s trained medical staff are able to keep nearly 92 percent of callers home, away from emergency rooms or urgent care.

The WAPC’s top 10 human poisonings list for 2009 includes:

• Ibuprofen

• Benzodiazepine (tranquilizers)

• Ethanol (alcoholic beverage)

• Diaper care/rash product

• Non-Drowsy Antihistamines (like Zyrtec and Claritin)

• Pediatric Acetaminophen (children’s Tylenol)

• SSRI (antidepressants)

• Adult Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

• Desiccant (silica gel used in packaging)

• Other non-drug substances

The WAPC recommends taking a few moments before giving or taking a medication to be sure it is the correct medication, given in the correct dose to the correct person at the correct time. If there is ever a doubt, do not wait for symptoms; call the Poison Center’s 24/7 hotline at 1-800-222-1222.

Calling within Washington state will connect you to one of the Washington Poison Center’s specially trained pharmacists, nurses and poison specialists. Poison help is always free and confidential (with the exception of $30 fee for animal calls). Services are available for people with hearing problems and for non-English speakers.

For more information, go to

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Pair of school levy renewals are on the special election ballot

Renewals need a simple majority to pass in Feb. 8 election.

Community conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion set for Feb. 2

The Mercer Island High School Black Student Union will present the community… Continue reading

‘It makes you feel that you’re making a difference’

Islanders volunteer with tiny house project to help the homeless in Seattle.

Search process begins for new school district superintendent

Colosky will retire at the end of this school year.

File photo
County auditor finds agencies fall short on emergency services

The auditor’s office recommends clarifying responsibilities and accountability for effective planning.

Reed will discuss Imagine Housing at Rotary meeting on Jan. 18

Angel Reed, volunteer and administration coordinator for Imagine Housing, will discuss the… Continue reading

School district to offer Zoom kindergarten information nights

Events will take place from 6-7 p.m. on Jan. 25.

During a news conference Thursday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee explains the deployment of the National Guard to hospitals to assist with the coronavirus surge. (TVW) 20220113
Surgeries paused, National Guard deployed to assist hospitals

King County health officials say 1 in 7 ICU and acute-care hospital beds are occupied by a COVID patient.

Most Read