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Poster & Video Contest
National Poison Prevention Week is March 21-27, 2021 and the Texas Poison Center Network is again hosting its yearly Poison Prevention Week Poster & Video Contests. 
While providing a valuable learning experience, the poster & video contests offers students the opportunity to learn about poison prevention, as well as win exciting prizes!
While providing a valuable learning experience, the poster & video contest offers students the opportunity to educate the public about poison prevention as well as win exciting prizes!
Video Contest:
If you're a high school or college student in Texas, create a 30-90 second poison prevention video, enter it in the Texas Poison Center Network Video Contest, and help us celebrate National Poison Prevention Week 2021 with a new video. Click here to download the entry form.
Carefully read the contest rules, ask a parent or guardian to complete the online contest entry form (below) and get started! Better move fast, though your finished video must be uploaded to the Texas Poison Center Network's Facebook page no later than Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
Poster Contest:
The poster contest is open to all 3rd, 4th & 5th grade students enrolled in a Texas school.  Regional winners will be selected and the winning poster from each region will advance to compete in the state contest. For more information on the poster contest,  click here to contact your regional poison center for region specific information. 

A man called after his fiancĂ© swallowed the engagement ring that he had baked into a cupcake. Although she had no pain or symptoms and seemed fine, the poison specialist recommended she go to the hospital for an x-ray. The poison center followed up the next day and learned that the ring had passed uneventfully and all was well.
A mom  called on Valentine's day after she realized that her 2-year-old daughter had consumed 2 glasses of champagne that were left unattended on the table. The child was a little drowsy. The specialist advised the mom to give the child a sugary drink and something soft to eat, but to avoid anything that could be a choking hazard. The mom was advised to watch for vomiting. The specialist followed up over the next few hours and with food and time, the child recovered. 
February 2021


Valentine's Day is right around the corner. For many people, Valentine's Day is a day for gifting and spending time with their loved one. However, not all couples remain smitten with each other, quickly turning the relationship into - toxic love. For many reasons-money, jealousy, or even a way out of an abusive relationship-poison has remained a popular homicidal weapon used throughout history - let's take a look. One of these poisons, arsenic, is considered the "king" of poisonings.

Arsenic had a bad reputation because of its long history of use as a homicidal agent. Arsenic, however, is a natural environmental contaminant that can be found in food, water, air, and soil; but it doesn't usually pose a health risk today because its usually found in small quantities. In the 1800's however, having arsenic in your kitchen was not uncommon or even suspicious. It was often the best defense against rats and could be purchased from your local drugstore.  It didn't help that it looked an awful lot like sugar and was sometimes kept in unmarked containers, causing many accidental poisonings at the time. Detecting Arsenic was a difficult task and most doctors couldn't tell whether the poison was involved because the symptoms were so common - diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

One of the oldest cases of Arsenic poisonings took place in 1840. It involved Marie Lafarge, a 24 year old aristocrat who had been forced into marrying her husband Charles Lafarge.  A few months into the marriage, Charles began having spells of vomiting and diarrhea. She wasn't charged with his murder until James Marsh, a chemist, invented the Marsh test to detect arsenic. 

Another famous case happened in 1973. Audrey Marie Hilley appeared to be happily married to her husband Frank Hilley of Anniston, Alabama. They had 2 children, Carol & Mike. By outward appearances, their marriage seemed to be the perfect example of a loving American couple. It all changed as Frank, Mike & Carol began to get sick after the purchase of a life insurance policy.  Marie was the prime suspect of poisoning her husband, kids & mother in law. She was charged with their murders, but vanished. She was found year's later living under a false name in another state. She was arrested but escaped prison and later died of hypothermia while hiding in the mountains during the winter months. 

In another case, US Navy Lieutenant Lee Hartley died mysteriously while serving overseas. It turns out he was poisoned slowly over a long period of time, and his murder went unsolved for thirteen years. Finally, an NCIS cold case unit confronted his widow, Pam Hartley, and she confessed to everything. Pam had poisoned her husband by sending him care packages, including baked goods laced with rat poison. She wanted out of her "miserable" marriage, but didn't want to give up the status of being a Navy officer's wife, so she decided to be a Navy officer's widow. Pam was sentenced to 40 years in prison, but she only served 16. 

Nowadays, one cannot "get away with murder" by using arsenic. We have advanced knowledge of arsenic poisoning as well as testing mechanisms to detect it. Nonetheless, incidents do still occur. Although thought to be more common, homicidal poisoning deaths are not as common as people might believe. It's probably because most of these cases are now being solved. Still, a total of 523 homicidal poisoning deaths were identified in the United States over a 6 year period in the early 2000's.  
We hope this look back at history was an interesting take on love & 



Call for help!
Remember, if you suspect that you or someone you know has been poisoned,  call the FREE Poison Helpline at
Your will be connected to a poison center in Texas.
Expert help is available around the clock, every day, even on holidays! 
Program the Poison Help number into your cell phone today.

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