North Carolina Poisoning Statistics

In 2015, 1,370 North Carolinians died due to unintentional poisoning. About half of these deaths are caused by prescription opioids, heroin, or cocaine.¹

  • In 2016-2017, NC Poison Control answered 151,420 calls from the public and from healthcare providers across the state.
  • Of those calls, 41,594 were from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers who needed assistance with the diagnosis, management, and treatment of poisoned patients.
  • Close to 70% of all calls about a poisoning exposure were managed at the site of the call, which is usually at home.
  • Pain relievers were the most commonly called about drug substance (24,422 calls).
  • Household cleaners were the most commonly called about non-drug substance (11,229 calls).

For more detailed North Carolina poisoning statistics, view the NC Poison Control 2014/2015 Biennial Report.

Click below to see previous biennial reports:

National Poisoning Statistics

In the United States, poisoning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death, and nearly 9 out of 10 of poisoning deaths are caused by drugs.²  See an injury grid highlighting the top causes of unintentional injury death.

  • In the United States, a poison control center answers a call about a suspected or actual poisoning every 14 seconds.³
  • In 2016, U.S. poison control centers received over 2.1 million poison exposure calls, over 490,000 information calls, and over 54,000 animal exposure calls
  • The death rate nationwide due to unintentional poisonings is 12.3 deaths per 100,000 population.4
  • Although children under the age of 6 were involved in about half of poisoning exposures in 2016, they comprised only 1.7% of poisoning deaths. Most (66.9%) of deaths occurred among 20-59 year olds.³
  • Cosmetics and personal care products were the most frequently involved substances in pediatric (5 years and younger) poisoning exposures in 2016.³
  • Pain relievers were the most frequently involved substances in poisoning exposures overall in 2016.³

For more detailed national poisoning statistics, view the 2016 American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System's Annual Report.


1 NC Injury and Violence Prevention Branch, "Prescription & Drug Overdoses" fact sheet

2 NCHS Data Brief, No.81, Dec. 2011

3 2016 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers' National Poison Data System (NPDS)

4 CDC FactStats: Accidents or Unintentional Injuries