POISON ALERT: OPC warns of possible contaminants in street drug supply

Poison Prevention - it's not just for the kids

Seniors also at-risk for poisoning

TORONTO - Most people recognize the risk for unintentional poisonings in young children, however, what goes unrecognized is that seniors are also at risk. While many people believe that the Ontario Poison Centre (OPC) is a primary resource for poisonings in children, the centre actually receives over 8,000 calls each year concerning poison exposures in adults over the age of 60. Medications are by far the most common substance about which the centre receives calls in this age group.

National Poison Prevention Week 2016 runs from March 20 to 26 and is recognized by poison centres across North America as an opportunity to spread awareness about the risk of poisonings in the community. This year OPC will focus on older adults through community education, as well as awareness activities including special lightings of the CN Tower (evening of Mar. 21 beginning at 5 p.m.), Niagara Falls (Mar. 21 from 10 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.) and the 3D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square (all day Mar. 23 beginning at 9 a.m.)  Members of the public are encouraged to engage with OPC on Twitter (@ON_Poison) by sharing selfies with the landmarks using the hashtag #NPPW16; participants will receive useful poison prevention materials for helping to spread the message.

Heather Hudson, Advanced Nursing Practice Educator at OPC, Dr. Margaret Thompson, Medical Director at OPC and Dr. Joanne Ho, Geriatrician at Grand River Hospital and former fellow of OPC are available to discuss the risks seniors and older adults face and also ways to prevent unintentional poisonings:

  • Debunking misconceptions
    • Children aren't the only age group at risk for unintentional poisoning
  • Why older adults are an at-risk age group
  • Prevention strategies
    • Storing and monitoring medications
    • Making the home safe for older adults and visiting grandchildren

About the Ontario Poison Centre
The Ontario Poison Centre has been serving the general public and healthcare professionals throughout Ontario since 1979. Although the Centre is located at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), its clients include both children and adults. The primary role of the Poison Centre is to provide telephone advice about poisoning incidents. The Centre also works on poison data collection, education, policy and research. For more information, please visit www.ontariopoisoncentre.com and follow @ON_Poison on Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Suzanne Gold
The Hospital for Sick Children
416-813-7654, ext. 202059