The Bible verse, "Thus shalt not suffer (allow) a witch to live" in Exodus 22:18 has long been a burden for Wiccans, but it’s a Medieval mistranslation (which may have even been intentional)–it REALLY should read, "Thou shalt not suffer a POISONER to live." This just goes to show how long poison has been with us as a form of (often secret) murder. It’s an ancient way to kill someone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still in use.

A first-of-a-kind national report reveals that more than 14,720 emergency department visits were caused by drug-related intentional poisonings during 2009 (the latest year with available data). The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that the majority of those visits (63%) were by females, and that 73% of the visits were by people aged 21 or older.

The report showed that a wide variety of substances were involved in these intentional poisonings, including alcohol, illicit drugs, and pharmaceuticals, as well as substances for which patients lacked knowledge about the specific drug(s). Alcohol was a factor in 60% of these intentional poisoning-related emergency department visits. Illicit drugs such as marijuana, stimulants, cocaine and Ecstasy were involved 30% of the time. Pharmaceuticals such as drugs for insomnia, anxiety, benzodiazepines and pain relievers appear to have been involved in 21% of these intentional poisoning cases. Alcohol and drug combinations were involved in almost half (46%) of the emergency department visit cases linked to intentional poisonings.

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde says, "The danger of being tricked into ingesting an unknown substance is all too real at bars, raves, parties or concerts where alcohol and other substances are shared in a social manner. Not only is the health of the person who is poisoned compromised they are in jeopardy of falling prey to other crimes such as robbery and sexual assault. Clearly some common sense precautions like being aware can go a long way in protecting oneself from people with malicious intent."

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