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212

November 5, 2013

The National Safety Council reported 212 unintentional deaths by poisoning in 2009, the most recent year with published statistics, which actually seems pretty low for a state with the population of New Jersey. The total number of poisoning deaths nationally was 31,758.

The modest number of deaths could be due to the success of the NJ Poison Information and Education System hotline -- 800-222-1222 -- which fields more than 100,000 calls from those with questions regarding possible poisonings. The center also deals with drug information. Specialists in poison information, either physicians, registered nurses, or pharmacists, handle all calls. About half of the specialists on the line are fluent in Spanish, and a contract with AT&T Language Line enables the specialists to respond in more than 100 languages. The center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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