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In an Emergency

1. Call the Poison Center Helpline (1-800-222-1222) if you or another person have been exposed to something that might cause an unwanted and/or unexpected reaction.


2. Remain calm - the majority of poison emergencies can be resolved quickly; over the phone


3. Call 9-1-1 if the person is unconscious or has difficulty breathing.




Prescription Drug Facts

Dec 16, 2017
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Prescription medication or drug related overdoses have risen annually for the past 11 years, with death rates quadrupling during this time period.  Read more: Prescription Drug Abuse:  An Illinois Public Health Crisis


The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is providing the following information to help educate the public about the potential health hazards of this prescription drug abuse or misuse:

  • In Illinois, medications were the number one and two leading causes of exposure related calls to the IPC in 2012; 10,975 calls on analgesics and 6,581 calls related to sedatives/hypnotics/antipsychotics. 
  • Nationally, prescription drug related fatalities are higher than cocaine and heroin deaths combined.
  •  Approximately 75 percent of prescription drug overdoses nationally are due to opioid medications such as the pain relievers Methodone or Oxycontin. 
  • 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs/medications, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prescription Drug Safety Tips:

  • Your health care provider and pharmacist are your best resources when it comes to understanding medications such as pain relievers, anti-anxiety medications and others.
  • Make sure to verify why the medication is needed and use alternatives to prescription medications. 
  • When filling a prescription for a new medication, ask you pharmacist to ensure the new drug will not interact with other medications you are already taking.
  • Use one pharmacy for all prescriptions so all medication records are in one place . This will help avoid unintended consequences from multiple prescriptions. 
  • Never share prescription medications. 
  • Read patient packaging insert in all prescriptions and consult your physician if you do not understand the instructions.

Other Resources:


Surge in Teenage Medication Abuse Alarms Hospital and Poison Center Officials


Medicine Disposal Guidelines


Poison Prevention Education (free) and Educational Materials

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Keywords: Prescription Drugs, presciption opioid abuse, opioids, DXM, Dextromethorphan
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222 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 1900, Chicago, Illinois 60606
Phone: 312-906-6136 TDD: 312-906-6185 Fax: 312-627-8006