Northern New England Poison Center

Poison Control

Poison Center in Northern New England

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.

To reach the NNEPC, call 800-222-1222, The number is confidential and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY and interpreter services are available.

You can also chat online with a poison specialist at the NNEPC website.

To be prepared for a poison emergency, program your cell phone with the poison center phone number, 800-222-1222, and have the number by your home telephone.

What is a poison?

A poison is any substance that can make you sick or harm your body. Poisons can also kill you. Poisoning can happen to people of all ages. Although the Poison Center receives the most calls about children under six, adults tend to have more serious health effects from poisoning. Medications are the number one cause.

Who gets poisoned in Vermont?

In 2013, the NNEPC managed nearly 5,000 poison exposures in Vermont. About 43% of these poisonings involved children under six. Teens, who are often poisoned in suicide attempts or from abusing substances, accounted for 9% of the Vermont poisonings.

Few people realize that adults get poisoned, too: 39% of Vermont poisonings in 2013 were among those aged 20 and older. Older adults, 60 years and older, accounted for 8% of reported poisonings.

Pets can also get poisoned; many things that are not poisonous to humans can be harmful or fatal to animals. The NNEPC does not specialize in animals, but can sometimes help. The NNEPC received nearly 350 calls from Vermont about animals in 2013. 

Poison Prevention Education Program

The NNEPC has a Vermont educator with dedicated time to provide community education on general poison prevention tips, medication safety, drug abuse (prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, street drugs, and current trends), inhalant abuse and environmental exposures. To download materials, visit http://www.nnepc.org/shop.

Contact Gayle Finkelstein, MSRN, Vermont Poison Prevention Educator, at 802-847-2393, or via email at gayle.finkelstein@vtmednet.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.

Common Poison Center Questions

These are some of the more common questions asked during calls to the Poison Center. For information on all the topics, visit the Northern New England Poison Center.

"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.

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

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can kill you.

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

Mixing cleaning products can sometimes be harmful.

For questions about other poisons visit NNEPC.org.

Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs

Here is some information on the use of medications at home:

Inhalants

More information on inhalant use and training for parents is availablehere.

Household Products, Chemicals and Toxins, and Indoor Air Quality

  • EPA.gov - Kid's Home Tour An interactive tour of chemicals in your home
  • EPA.gov - Indoor Air Quality Environmental Protection Agency information on indoor air quality
  • NIH.gov - Tox Town An interactive game to teach children about poisons
  • Vermont Department of Health - Mold Learn about the dangers of mold

Lead, Mercury and Radon

Pesticides

Poison Control

Caffeine and Energy Drinks

Poison Prevention Information in Other Languages

Free translated poison prevention postcards are available, along with other free materials.