Ocean County Press Release
Third Week of March is Poison Prevention Week

TOMS RIVER - According to the Poison Prevention Week Council more than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country.
Approximately 90 percent of poisonings happen at home, and 51 percent of poisonings involve children under the age of six. The majority of fatal poisonings occur among adults, especially older adults.

"The third week of March is highlighted as National Poison Prevention Week," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. "This is a good time to take precautionary steps that can help keep our families and loved ones safe. It is also a good time to educate ourselves on what to do should the unthinkable happen."

If someone is unconscious, not breathing, seizing/convulsing, bleeding profusely, difficult to arouse/wake up, etc. call 911 immediately, otherwise call the NJ Poison Experts at 1-800-222-1222.

"Don't waste valuable time looking up information on the Internet when every minute counts. Many of the calls we get are genuine emergencies," said Dr. Steven Marcus, executive and medical director of the NJ Poison Center. "Having a poison expert give you exact instructions for your specific situation can help significantly during those critical first few minutes."

When contacting emergency personnel be prepared with the following information:
• The victim's age.
• The victim's weight.
• Existing health conditions or problems.
• The substance involved and how it contacted the person. For example, was it swallowed, inhaled, absorbed through skin contact, or splashed into the eyes? How long ago did they swallow or inhale the substance?
• Any first aid which may have been given.
• If the person has vomited.
• Your location and how long it will take you to get to the hospital.

Having the product label ready can be invaluable. It can provide information concerning the product's contents and advice on what immediate first aid to perform.

Vicari, who serves as Chairman of Consumer Affairs, noted that older adults are more often the victims of poisoning that result in death than children.

"Confusing one medication for another, taking too much medicine, or mixing medication with alcohol can all contribute to these preventable fatalities," Vicari said.

Vicari, who also serves as Chairman of Senior Services, offered suggestions adults can take to avoid poisonings:
• Turn on a light at night and put on your glasses to read the label when you need to take a medicine.
• Always read the label and follow instructions when taking medicines. If any questions arise, consult your physician.
• Never mix medicines and alcohol, and never take more than the prescribed amount of medicine.
• Never "borrow" a friend's medicine or take old medicines.
• Tell your doctor what other medicines you are taking so you can avoid adverse drug interactions.

Vicari noted that there are five Prescription Medicine Drop-Off Sites located throughout the County where expired and unneeded medications can be properly disposed.

"If you don't need the medication or it has passed its expiration date get rid of it," Vicari said.

Drop-off sites are:
• Lacey Township Police Department, 808 West Lacey Road, Forked River
• Lakewood Police Department, 231 Third St., Lakewood
• Manchester Township Police Department, 1 Colonial Drive, Manchester
• Seaside Heights Police Department, 116 Sherman Ave., Seaside Heights
• Toms River Police Department, 255 Oak Ave., Toms River

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