Twenty-four deaths and 4,271 hospital admissions due to poisoning occurred in the 0-19 year age group in Maryland during 1979-82. Four-fifths of the deaths (83 per cent) and two-thirds of the admissions involved teenagers. Among teenagers, four out of five admissions and deaths were of suicidal or undetermined intent. Black males had the highest hospitalization rate among young children, and White females among teenagers. The most common poisons ingested by children aged 0-4 years were aspirin, solvents and petroleum products, tranquilizers, and iron compounds. Among teenagers, aspirin, tranquilizers, sedatives, and antidepressants were the most common substances ingested, with antidepressants and stimulants most common among the fatalities. Reducing the availability and toxicity of the most hazardous drugs is important if morbidity and mortality from poisoning are to be prevented.