Family safety reminders for National Poison Prevention Week | Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Family safety reminders for National Poison Prevention Week

March 17, 2017

Whether we live in rural Alaska or a large city center, protecting our families at home is important to us all. While many think of protecting our homes from outside threats, there are many things inside our homes that could harm our families.

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Behavioral Health and ANTHC Injury Prevention want you to think about keeping your home and family safe during National Poison Prevention Week, March 19-25. A growing risk to our health is accidental or unintentional poisonings, especially from substances people do not typically think of as poisons – the misuse of medication, drugs and alcohol.

Accidental poisoning from prescription medications, especially opioids, has been on the rise in Alaska. From 2002-2011 prescription and illicit drugs accounted for 51 percent of poisonings deaths for Alaska Native people, while alcohol accounted for 41 percent. From 2014-2015 drug poisoning (illicit and prescription) rates amongst Alaska Native people grew by 57 percent from 2012-13.

Our youth are especially vulnerable. From 2002 to 2011, nearly 80 percent of unintentional poisoning hospitalizations of Alaska Native and American Indian children (ages 9 and under) were caused by illicit or prescription drugs.

There are steps you can take to prevent accidental poisoning in your home.

Do not share medicine with friends or take drugs that are not prescribed to you. Keep prescribed medicine in a locked cabinet and out of the reach of children. Monitor and count pills, so you are aware if any are missing.

Some communities and pharmacies can dispose of your unused medication. If you are prescribed medication, ask your provider about your community’s drug take-back programs.

If you are concerned you or someone you know may be misusing prescription opioids, help is available. Contact ANTHC’s Substance Abuse and Prevention at (907) 729-3547 or email

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