The New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center (NM Poison Center) became a program of the University of New Mexico’s College of Pharmacy in 1977. This year marks its 40th anniversary with the college.
Last fiscal year, 21,023 of the calls received by the NM Poison Center involved actual poison exposures, and 61 percent of these calls involved medication errors, misuse and abuse. Poisonings are the leading cause of unintentional death in New Mexico. National Poison Prevention Week (March 19-25) raises awareness about poisoning in the U.S. and highlights specific ways to prevent it.
During March, the NM Poison Center highlights its free and confidential services, including a Poison Help service and a drug information service, both at 1-800-222-1222. As part of the NM Poison Center’s drug information service, the public and health care professionals can call to identify tablets, inquire about adverse drug reactions, assess medication regimens and more. The NM Poison Center’s poison information specialists are also trained to guide the public in administering naloxone, a drug that safely reverses the effects of opiate overdoses.
The NM Poison Center will observe the following themes set forth by the National Poison Prevention Week Council for National Poison Prevention Week:
- Monday, March 20 – Children Act Fast … So Do Poisons
- Tuesday, March 21 – Poison Centers: Call the Experts
- Wednesday, March 22 – Poisonings Span a Lifetime
- Thursday, March 23 – Home, Safe Home
- Friday, March 24 – Medication Safety
Prescription drug abuse remains a serious public health issue in New Mexico and across the U.S. The good news is that our expertly trained specialists were able to safely manage 81 percent of the poisonings at home or on site, which resulted in $13 million in health care cost savings for New Mexicans. The involvement of our medical toxicologists with hospitalized patients saved an additional $36.6 million in healthcare costs.
Please get involved and help the NM Poison Center make a difference. Know that no act is too big or too small when it comes to poison prevention and awareness. Visit the NM Poison Center for ideas and resources on how to become involved.