Northern New England Poison Center

The Northern New England Poison Center (NNEPC) is a certified regional center serving Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. The Center is located in Portland, Maine and manages 300 calls a day with medication being the number one poisoning. The NNEPC provides fast, accurate information and expert advice.

How to reach the NNEPC:

Call 1-800-222-1222, toll-free 24 hours a day 7 days a week, confidential. TTY and interpreter service available

Chat Online at www.NNECP.org

Text Poison to 85511

To be prepared for a poison emergency, program the poison center phone umber into your phone today

What is a poison?

A poison is any substance that can make you sick or cause harmful effects in the body. Poisons can also kill you. Poisonings can happen to people of all ages. Even though the poison center receives more calls concerning children less than 6 years; adults tend to have more serious health effects or deaths due to poisonings. Medications are the number one cause of poisonings.

Who gets poisoned in Vermont?

In 2018, the Northern New England Poison Center (NNEPC) managed 4,888 poison exposures. These included calls from homes, workplaces, schools, hospitals, doctors' offices, ambulances and more. 

Children 5 years old and younger accounted for 36% of reported poisonings. These cases most often involved young children who put potential poisons in their mouths while exploring.

Many people don't realize that the poison center helps teens and adults, as well, with teens accounting for 10% of reported poisonings in 2018 and adults age 20 and older accounting for 43%. Ways that teens and adults are exposed to potential poisons include medication errors, misuse of household products, chemicals in the environment, attempts to get high and self-harm attempts.

Medication errors cause poisonings in every age group, but are a particular risk among older adults, who tend to take more medications. Adults 60 years and older accounted for 9% of Vermont poisonings in 2018.

Pets can also get poisoned, and many things that are not poisonous to humans can be harmful to animals. The NNEPC does not specialize in animals but can sometimes help. The NNEPC took 281 calls about animals in 2018.

In addition, the poison center is a resource when you have questions about medications or possible poisons. The NNEPC responded to 2,255 information requests in 2018.

Poison Prevention Education Program

The NNEPC has a Vermont educator with dedicated time for providing community education around general poison prevention tips, medication safety, drug abuse (i.e. prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, street drugs, current trends), inhalant abuse and environmental exposures.

For non-emergencies contact: Gayle Finkelstein, MSN, RN Vermont Poison Prevention Educator 802-847-2393 gayle [dot] finkelsteinatuvmhealth [dot] org.

Vision

To be the leading poisoning prevention team by:

  • Implementing successful research-based programs
  • Building partnerships
  • Integrating with the public health system

Mission

The Northern New England Poison Center Prevention Program advances evidence-based poisoning prevention through collaboration, education, promotion, advocacy and expert guidance in order to decrease poison-related morbidity and mortality.

Questions and Answers About Poison Prevention

"I took my wife's heart medicine by mistake and can't get in touch with my doctor. What should I do?"

Medications account for more than half of all reported poisonings. NNEPC has specially trained nurses and pharmacists to handle Poison Center calls. For information on medication safety and to download or order the Medication: What You Need to Know brochure, visit the Northern New England Poison Center and to download or order the Medication: What You Need to Know booklet or for information on medicines, visit MedlinePlus.

"My family is having headaches and upset stomach since we turned the kerosene heater on. Could the heater cause us to be sick?"

For information on carbon monoxide, visit the Northern New England Poison Center.

"I mixed two cleaners when cleaning the bathroom. The fumes are making it hard to breathe. What do I do?"

Visit the Northern New England Poison Center at nnepc.org for poison information, poison prevention educational programs, live chat with the experts and to download or order poison prevention materials.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs

Medicines in My Home FDA Web page on the safe use of over-the-counter medications at home.

Inhalants

View inhalant information and training for adults:

Household Products, Chemicals and Toxins, and Indoor Air Quality

Lead, Mercury, and Radon

Pesticides

Health & the Environment

Podcasts:

Video Resources

Browse videos on poison prevention from the Northern New England Poison Center: