What is a poison?

A poison is anything that can cause harm to your body through a toxic effect that may injure you or make you sick. It can be something you inhale, swallow, inject or that touches your skin or eyes.

Medications are the leading cause of poisoning in Canada. Over-the-counter medicines, prescription drugs, illicit drugs, alcohol and cannabis can cause poisoning, depending on the quantity taken and the individual. What we sometimes call an “overdose” is really a poisoning.

Other common sources of such poisons / toxins come from:

What is a
Poison Centre?

A poison centre is a telephone-based front-line service operating 24 hours, seven days a week, staffed by registered nurses and pharmacists with specialized training in the effects of poison, known as toxicology.

We provide advice over the phone for anyone of any age who may have been exposed to a poison, from babies to seniors.

Poison Centres
in Canada

Help is a call away 

Knowing who to call when a poisoning occurs can be lifesaving. Featuring parents and healthcare professionals from across Canada, this series of videos tell the real-life stories of poisoning incidents. Hear from parents who called the poison centre for help as well as the healthcare professionals who work in Canada’s poison centres about the cases they manage and their tips for preventing poisonings at home.   

See more videos featuring healthcare professionals from Canada’s poison centres and parents who called the poison centre for help. 

These videos were created with funds from Health Canada and in partnership with the Canadian Association of Poison Centres and Clinical Toxicologists (CAPCCT) and Parachute, Canada’s national charity dedicated to injury prevention.