An accidental poisoning occurs when someone is unintentionally exposed to a toxin. This includes an accidental drug overdose. When a substance is ingested, inhaled, or injected in an amount that is toxic, either because of the nature of the substance or because of the dose consumed, it negatively impacts the physiological functions of the body. Depending on the levelof toxicity, and the availability of an antidote, an accidental poisoning can be fatal.
In Wellington County, between 2015 and 2020, the hospitals in the County (Groves Memorial, Louise Marshal and Palmerston District) recorded 471 events as Accidental Poisoning or Incidental Poisoning.The incidence rate of accidental poisonings has increased year by year in Wellington County since 2015.
The causes of accidental poisonings vary and may include exposure to farm chemicals or domestic cleaning or personal care products. The advent of the Opioid Crisis and the legalization of cannabis have also contributed to the increase in accidental poisoning. When people who use opioids purchase substances from the unregulated market, there is no quality control on the substances they purchase. The precise contents of the substance they are using are unknown. Consuming such substances may lead to an accidental poisoning. Edible cannabis products are marketed to resemble candies or other food products which can lead to children consuming them, mistaking them for a regular candy.
The Accidental Poisoning Action Group of the Safe Communities Wellington County Committee was begun in the Spring of 2021. It gathered data from local hospitals and First Responders to learn more about the occurrence of local accidental poisoning events. Once this data was reviewed, Committee members were surveyed to identify the areas of greatest concern. Using these survey results, the focus for the Accidental Poisoning PAG in 2022 will be collaborating with stakeholders in the County to educate youth about the risks of accidental poisonings.