Monday, June 15, 2015

It’s National Safety Month: Learn More about Prescription Painkiller Abuse

Did you know that injuries are the leading cause of disabilities for all ages and the leading cause for death in Americans age 1 to 44 years old? It’s important to practice safety first whether it be transportation safety, emergency preparedness or even slips, trips and falls. But the main issue plaguing many Americans these days is prescription painkiller abuse and this is a major safety issue when it comes to people’s lives.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that prescription painkiller abuse has reached epidemic levels. Deaths by overdose of painkillers have surpassed the deaths from heroin and cocaine combined. It was reported in 2010 that roughly 12 million Americans reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in that year alone. Why are Americans abusing painkillers? Most state they use the drugs just to enjoy the “high”.
Want to hear some even scarier data? There were enough painkillers prescribed in 2010 alone that could essentially medicate every adult in the U.S. for an entire month! While these prescriptions were legally prescribed, many of the medications still end up in the hands of people they are not prescribed for leading to incredible amounts of misuse and abuse. Some popular prescription painkillers include: Vicodin, OxyContin and methadone.

The Texas Poison Center Network wants you to know that we can fix this epidemic and change statistics for the better. Here’s what you can do to help eliminate prescription painkiller abuse:

·         If you are prescribed pain medication, never share your prescription with anyone.

·         Make sure to use the prescription only as directed by your healthcare provider.

·         Store medications in a secure location and out of reach of children.

·         Read warning labels because some medications cannot be taken with certain things including alcohol.

·         Keep medication in its proper bottle or original container.

·         Monitor the use of prescriptions by children and teenagers to ensure they do not misuse or abuse.

·         Dispose of medication properly when you no longer need it. (  

·         Participate in National Drug Take Back Days that take place in your community.

If you have concerns regarding prescription painkillers and the use or abuse of them, please do not hesitate to contact your local Texas poison center. Dial 1-800-222-1222 for immediate help and assistance today- they are available around the clock for your poisoning concerns and needs.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Dangers from Flooding that You Don’t Always Hear

Within the past month, several major areas of Texas have been hit with severe flooding leaving damage to people’s homes and properties including the loss of loved ones.  While we know flooding can be dangerous, there are sometimes hidden dangers that come with high floods in usually dry areas.

The Texas Poison Center Network wants to share with you some dangers that can persist after the floodwaters have subsided so that you stay informed and keep your family safe from potential poisons. Check out the list compiled below on things to look out for in flooded or recently flooded areas.


·         With all the rain, snakes, including venomous ones, have been washed up into areas where they might not usually be seen. If you see a snake, try to avoid it at all costs. For your own safety, do not handle any wildlife.

·         If you are bitten by a snake, please seek medical attention and contact a poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 for immediate help and advice on appropriate first aid that should be done on site. Additionally our nurses, pharmacists and physicians can tell you what NOT to do as many misconceptions and myths persist in regards to snakebites.


·         Standing water is a breeding ground for pesky mosquitos. Make sure you drain any standing water around your home including empty buckets, cans and even flowerpots.

·         Mosquitos may become a real nuisance after all the rain, so make sure you use a repellent that contains DEET (for children over the age of 2 months, applied once a day) to help avoid mosquito-borne illnesses. Please follow the directions on the label for its use.  

·         If possible, avoid being outside at dusk and dawn. If you have to be outside, wear clothing that provides optimal coverage.

Contaminated water

·         Keep children away from standing flood water or storm drains. The water could be contaminated and unsafe.

·         One of the biggest threats is posed by fecal coliform bacteria contamination in floodwater. Fecal coliform bacteria, such as E.coli from human and animal waste, gets stirred up during a flood.  In addition, follow “boil water” alerts that may be issued and do not drink water from unknown sources.

·         Flooded homes might now have issues of mold. It is best to hire a professional to have this checked out and ensure your home is safe to live in.

Lack of electricity

·         If you are in an area without electricity, please use precautions when using generators and other power or heat sources that might produce carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide poisoning in the home is very dangerous and because it is a colorless and odorless gas, it can happen without you even being aware.

·         For more info on carbon monoxide poisoning, please see

 If you have any questions concerning toxins or poisons associated with floods, please do not hesitate to contact the Texas Poison Center Network. They are waiting to help you 24/7 at 1-800-222-1222.