Poison Control Calls

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Methamphetamine, a stimulant, can increase alertness, attention, and energy through its effects on the reward system of the brain, and its effects on the control of blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing. Methamphetamine misuse, including overdose, can lead to serious psychological and physical health effects such as psychosis, confusion, panic states, paranoia, anger, aggression, restlessness, muscle pains, weakness, tremors, overactive reflexes, seizures, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a dangerously high body temperature, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, heart attacks, and heart failure (NIDA). 

Those who experience potential methamphetamine or other poisoning should seek help by calling the 24/7 national poison control hotline at (800) 222-1222, or visiting webPOISONCONTROL at poison.org. Both options provide free, expert, and confidential guidance in a poison emergency. Calls will be routed to the local Poison Center, and managed by a Poison Specialist who is a registered nurse or pharmacist who will determine the severity of your case and provide recommendations.  


Poison Control Center calls for meth is increasing in the US

- Nationwide, from 2012-2018, there were a total of 41,634 cases reported to all Poison Control Centers that mentioned methamphetamine exposure. Methamphetamine was the single exposure mentioned on the call for 21,521 (52%) of those cases, while the rest mentioned stimulant exposure along with exposure to other substances. 

- From 2012-2018, the number of calls to the Poison Control Center mentioning methamphetamine exposure increased 118%, and calls mentioning methamphetamine as the single exposure increased 80% (Figures 1-2).

Los Angeles County

- In Los Angeles County (LAC) from 2014-2018, there were a total of 21,433 reports for poison exposure calls to Poison Control Centers (Figure 3). 

Meth accounts for the largest share of Poison Control calls for illicit substances

Figure 4. Poison control system reports (calls) by illicit drug, LAC
Source: NDEWS

- Of the 4,163 Poison Control Systems reports for drugs in 2018, 14.4% were for illicit drugs.

- Methamphetamine has been the most common illicit drug exposure that callers to the Poison Control Centers called about for help since 2012, followed by marijuana, heroin, and cocaine (Figure 4)


Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS). Clinical Toxicology. 2012-2018. (2012: Table 22B. page 247. 2013: Table 22B. page 1253. 2014: Table 22B. page 156. 2015: Table 22(B). page 162. 2016: Table 22(B). page 163. 2017: Table 22B. page 202. 2018: Table 22B. page 193)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2019). DrugFacts: What is methamphetamine? Retrieved at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine. Retrieved 1/28/2020.

National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS). Los Angeles County Sentinel Community Site (SCS) Drug Use Patterns and Trends. Report years 2015- 2019.