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National Take-Back Initiative 2011

Posted: April 27th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

For the second consecutive year, the DEA will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets on April 30th , 2011. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.  The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction.  These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety. Read more »


The Gardener’s Guide to Poison Prevention

Posted: April 26th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Just the other day, one of our super certified poison information specialists (CSPI) was shopping at a local grocery store and found a packet of castor bean seeds in the gardening section. While most would be dazed by the beautiful flowers these seeds produce, at the Illinois Poison Center we are all too familiar with the poison contained in castor beans, ricin.  Ricin is derived from castor beans and can be refined and manufactured as a chemical weapon. Potentially toxic plants around homes are always a concern for the IPC staff. With the spring-planting season upon us, we want to provide our readers with some very important information they need in order to become more educated gardeners. Read more »


Where’s the Antidote?!

Posted: April 19th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Antidotes are sexy.  We see it in James Bond and Indiana Jones movies:  the hero has been slipped a lethal poison (usually, while wearing a tuxedo) and just in the nick of time swallows a vial of mysterious liquid that allows him to continue to save the day.

(Watch the poisoning scene in James Bond Casino Royale)

The word antidote can be described as the opposite or antonym of ‘poison.’  It comes from the Greek word antidoton, meaning ‘to give against’.    A common misconception about antidotes is that every poison has one.   Read more »


Poison Prevention for Man’s Best Friend

Posted: April 12th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Although the Illinois Poison Center handles calls about human-related exposures only, we know many of our readers still need poison prevention tips for their furry, four-  legged friends. Did you know there was an animal poison control center located right here in Illinois?  Well this week the ASPCA Animal Poison Control offers some great tips to keep pets safe from potentially harmful-substances.

Most of us have heard the adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  Nowhere is this more true than in veterinary medicine.  Dogs and cats are very mobile and it isn’t difficult for them to find things to get into.  Puppies and kittens explore the environment with their mouths, while bigger dogs and cats may have no problem reaching the countertops. This makes them very prone to accidental poisonings if the proper precautions are not taken. Read more »


Top 6 Reasons Why One National Poison Center is NOT the Answer

Posted: April 5th, 2011 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Last month, we explained how cutting funding for poison centers is a classic case of ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ and the loss of poison centers would lead to a drastic increase in unnecessary health care costs.   One of our astute readers left us a comment asking a very good question:

Thanks for this explanation.  I am a big believer in what you guys are doing.  There is no doubt that Poison Centers across the country save a lot of money (as well as lives!)

Nonetheless, I do think more explanation is needed to address why a national (or regional) poison centers wouldn’t work. I know local relationships are important, but in my opinion, this needs to be explained further.

We are so glad you asked (we also really like the compliment on saving money and lives too!).  We understand the federal government needs to save money, and that a suggested solution is to consolidate the current 57 national poison centers into one, single national poison center to handle all the calls in the country.  While that might seem like the best idea, it is however, not a well thought-out concept.  There are many reasons why, but the biggest one is… Read more »