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National Poisons Information Centre. (2013) National poisons information centre annual report 2012. Dublin: National Poisons Information Centre.

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The core function of the National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC) is to provide information, by telephone, to assist in the treatment of poisoning. Total enquiries in 2012 rose by 4.0%, mainly due to increased calls from the general public. Use of TOXBASE®, mainly by emergency departments, also increased slightly (by 1.6%).
We answered a total of 9905 enquiries in 2012. Of these, 9563 enquiries were about human poisoning and we followed-up 230 serious or unusual cases to determine the outcome.
Follow-up is usually performed by telephone and can involve multiple calls to nursing and/or medical staff. We are very grateful to everyone who takes the time to talk to us when we call to follow-up a case. The remaining enquiries included 274 non-emergency requests for information and 68 enquiries about poisoning in animals. Most enquiries were from medical and nursing staff in GP practices/co-ops and in hospitals, while 25.7% were from members of the public.
Overall, 61.3% of human cases were suspected accidental poisonings and 20.4% were cases of intentional self-poisoning or recreational abuse. Paracetamol remains the most common drug involved in human poisoning enquiries, and laundry products the most common group of household products. We continue to contract the UK National Poisons Information Service to answer enquiries from doctors and healthcare professionals between 10pm and 8am each day. This is a cost effective way to provide a 24-hour service and requires good, on-going communication with the UK centres. In January 2012, we extended the hours of the Public Poisons Information Line to 8am-10pm every day and calls from members of the public subsequently increased by 21.5%. As a small national centre, we are fortunate to have close links with the UK National Poisons Information Service, which enabled our staff to participate in CPD activities with our colleagues in the UK on several occasions during the year.
In 2012, we embarked on a number of poison awareness activities. We held the first national Poisons Awareness Day on Friday 19th April, supported by funding from the Health Service Executive (HSE). The major event on the day was the launch of the “Say NO to Poisons”” book, which was developed in collaboration with early childhood education specialists. The central message is that children should always ask an adult minding them if something is safe to eat, drink or touch. 4750 copies of the book have been ordered by the County Childcare Committees and other early years organisations for distribution to childcare facilities nationally.
We also launched our Facebook page in April 2012 with the aims of increasing awareness of the Public Poisons Information Line among parents of young children, communicating with potential service users and promoting poisons prevention. The number of Facebook users who “Liked” the page grew steadily and reached 300 by the end of the year.
A further poison prevention initiative resulted from collaboration with the Health and Safety Authority (HAS), who are one of the Competent Authorities responsible for implementation and enforcement of the EU Detergents Regulation No. 648/2004 and the Dangerous Preparations Directive 1999/45/EC in Ireland. The NPIC approached the HSA in September with concerns about the number of enquiries received involving young children exposed to liquid laundry detergent capsules. Subsequently all companies manufacturing products on the Irish market signing up to a voluntary product stewardship plan to address the issue. The NPIC will monitor the impact of these measures and will continue to liaise with the HSA and with industry about this issue.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
10 p.
National Poisons Information Centre
Corporate Creators
National Poisons Information Centre
Place of Publication
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