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Upstate New York Poison Center Readies for National Poison Prevention Week Amidst Rising Concerns Over Cannabis-Related Incidents

Image of poison prevention week dates march 17-23

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – National Poison Prevention Week, March 17th-23rd, is almost here. Each year, the third week in March is dedicated to reminding families to safeguard their homes from potential poisonings and to urge everyone to save our number, 1-800-222-1222, ahead of needing to call us. During this pivotal week, the Upstate New York Poison Center renews its promise to always be prepared to help in any poisoning emergency or for a poisoning question across our 54-county coverage area 24/7, 365 days a year.

"When you call our poison center at 1-800-222-1222, you will have immediate access to expert guidance tailored to your unique poisoning situation,” says Jeanna Marraffa, PharmD, MPH, Clinical Director of the Upstate New York Poison Center, “Our team offers immediate support, personalized care and peace of mind, making your safety our priority.”

Addressing Emerging Trends

Every year, the Upstate New York Poison Center handles more and more calls related to cannabis. In 2023, they handled nearly 700 cases involving all kinds of cannabis products. Most of these calls were for kids under the age of 6 who got into edible cannabis products. These kids can become very sick and often need to go to the hospital. Remember to keep all cannabis up, away, and out of sight and reach of children.

Key Statistics from 2023:

  • Specialists in Poison Information assisted in more than 50,000 cases in 2023.
  • The busiest months were August, July, and March.
  • 95% of people who call the poison center from a home can be managed at home and do not need to go to a health care facility.
  • 79% of calls were for unintentional poisonings.

Top 5 Poisonings in 2023 for All Age Groups:

  1. Analgesics
  2. Household cleaning products
  3. Antidepressants
  4. Cosmetics/personal care products
  5. Cardiovascular drugs

Poison Prevention Tips:

  • Keep medicines and household products locked up and out of sight of children, preferably in a secure medication lockbox.
  • Store all medicines and products in their original containers.
  • Do not refer to medicine as candy.
  • Take medicines over a sink or countertop and put them up, away, and out of reach.
  • Poisons can look like food or drink. Teach children to ask an adult before eating or drinking anything.
  • Secure all household chemicals with a lock and key or use a cabinet lock.
  • Don’t leave tobacco products like cigarettes or vape pens in view of children. Even a small amount of vape juice can be toxic to a child. Just one cigarette (or butt) swallowed by a child could mean a trip to an ER.
  • Have your heating system checked by a professional. Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors.

What To Do If A Poisoning Happens:

  • Call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.
  • Take the product to the phone.
  • Your call will be answered by a Certified Specialist in Poison Information – a registered nurse, pharmacist, or doctor trained in toxicology.
  • The Specialist will gather essential details, including patient information, what happened, and symptoms.
  • Follow the guidance provided by our poison center.

Get Involved:

On Tuesday, March 19th at 2:00 p.m., the poison center is uniting its efforts in poison prevention with Jefferson County and the Alliance for Better Communities. The news conference at Jefferson Community College will share new data and poisoning trends in our northern counties. All media are invited.

FREE POISON PREVENTION WEBINARS for anyone in New York State will be held in English, Spanish, and Cantonese next week! Learn more and register on our website!


In the case of a poisoning or for information purposes, call the Upstate New York Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. We are open 24/7, 365 days a year. Each year our center manages more than 50,000 calls from health care providers, 911 operators, hospitals, industry, schools, and the general public in our 54-county service area.

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About Upstate New York Poison Center

Housed inside Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, the Upstate New York Poison Center is dedicated to reducing the number, cost and severity of poisonings within its designated 54-county service area as mandated by New York State Law. The Center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to both health professionals and the general public at 1-800-222-1222.

About Upstate Medical University

SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY, is the only academic medical center in Central New York. It is also the region's largest employer with 9,460 employees. Affiliated with the State University of New York, Upstate's mission is to improve the health of the community through education, biomedical research and health care.