ALTHOUGH CHILDHOOD poisoning mortality has decreased in recent years, morbidity associated with poisoning in this age group remains a major public health problem. In 1987, 731,954 poisoning exposures among children less than 6 years of age were reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers National Data Collection System; 22 of these children died, and 107,844 others became ill.1 The number of exposures to household medicines and chemicals can be reduced by more widespread use of safety-packaged products by parents and other caretakers of children. The following report focuses on unintentional poisoning mortality among young adults, including poisonings from both the medical and nonmedical use of drugs.
Unintentional poisoning deaths in the United States were analyzed for 1980-1986 using final mortality data from CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).* Age-adjusted mortality rates were directly standardized to the 1980 U.S. population.
From 1980 through 1986, the mortality rate