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WRITER: KATE THAYER
CONTACT: BECKY SOGLIN
5137 Westlawn
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-6660; fax (319) 384-4638
e-mail: becky-soglin@uiowa.edu

Release: March 16, 2001

(EDITORS: A Consumer Product Safety Health fact sheet on poisons is available at http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/386.html.)

UI College of Pharmacy students help promote National Poison Prevention Week

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa College of Pharmacy's student chapter of the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP), along with other student organizations, will visit local elementary students and leave informational brochures at Iowa City area Walgreen's and Hy-Vee pharmacies during National Poison Prevention Week, March 18 - 24.

In order to educate children about the dangers of household poisons, students in the UI chapter of ASHP will visit kindergarten students at Hoover Elementary in Iowa City on Thursday, March 22. This year's theme is "Out of Reach of Danger: Children Act Fast...So Do Poisons."

National Poison Prevention Week is sponsored by the National Poison Prevention Council and promoted by the ASHP to help reduce the number of accidental poisonings in the home. According to the ASHP, an estimated 600,000 to one million children accidentally poison themselves with harmful substances each year.

Jennifer Hudachek, a second-year pharmacy student and president of the UI College of Pharmacy student council, said the pharmacy students will teach the students about identifying poisons, hold a poster contest and distribute poison prevention books.

"This effort is so important because so many children mistake poisons for candy or other non-poisonous substances," Hudachek said. "There are a lot of accidental poisonings that can easily be prevented."

The UI chapter of the Academy of Students in Pharmacy (ASP) will also visit the Hoover Elementary kindergarten students and perform the "Katie's Kids" presentation. The presentation involves a character, "Katie the Kangaroo," who was created to teach youngsters about the dangers of poisons.

In addition to educating children about poison, National Poison Prevention Week is also designed to teach parents, Hudachek said.

"Poison prevention is also about showing parents how they can poison-proof their homes," she said. "Many people just don't know that some things, such as certain plants, are poisonous and can be dangerous."

Hudachek said it is important that pharmacy students get involved in poison prevention education.

"Since pharmacists are such accessible health care providers, it is important for them to educate the community about poisoning in the home -- something that is so preventable," she said.

A nationwide effort among civic groups, professional and trade associations, businesses, and government will be underway during National Poison Prevention Week to inform and educate parents and children about accidental poisoning in the home.

Additional information is available by calling the Iowa Statewide Poison Prevention Center (ISPPC) at (800) 222-1222 or visiting online at www.iowapoison.org. The ISPPC is a partnership of UI Health Care and St. Luke's Regional Medical Center/Iowa Health System.

Information also is available online at the Poison Prevention Week Council Web site: www.poisonprevention.org.