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Poisons (Antidotes)

Volume 526: debated on Thursday 29 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, where the law provides that any poisonous fluid or substance must be marked or labelled "Poison," he will make it compulsory that the antidote to the poison shall also be clearly stated.

No, Sir. The Poisons Board has advised against the introduction of such legislation.

Would my right hon. and learned Friend agree that, as very few people know what to do when faced with a poisoning emergency, a precaution of this kind might be the means of saving life, even if the antidote were only a temporary expedient?

I think there are great dangers in this matter because undue emphasis on antidotes might result in the loss of valuable time in obtaining medical help. Barbiturate poisoning, for example, which has been the commonest form in recent years, requires immediate hospital treatment, and any delay may be fatal. I hope no one will rely on antidotes to the exclusion of getting immediate medical advice.

Will my right hon. and learned Friend consider the possibility of a statute providing that all Socialist constituents should be labelled, "To take Conservatism"?