Deaths from drug overdose have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States, where the poison center system is available to provide real-time advice and collect data about a variety of poisonings. In 2012, emergency medical providers were confronted with new poisonings, such as bath salts (substituted cathinones) and Spice (synthetic cannabinoid drugs), as well as continued trends in established poisonings such as from prescription opioids. This article addresses current trends in opioid poisonings; new substances implicated in poisoning cases, including unit-dose laundry detergents, bath salts, Spice, and energy drinks; and the role of poison centers in public health emergencies such as the Fukushima radiation incident.
Copyright © 2014 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.