Poison Control Centers
- Provide treatment advice, public and professional education, poisoning information and collect and provide timely data to assist in detection of a potential poisoning outbreak or potential biological event.
- Offer ready access to services that have been proven to reduce severity of illness, death, and health care costs.
- For every dollar spent on Poison Control Center services, $7 is saved in medical spending.
- Medical costs savings occur because treatment guidance for the majority of poison exposures (over 70%) can be provided over the phone, therefore reducing emergency room visits, ambulance use and hospital admissions.
The Federal Program
The HRSA Poison Control Program provides:
- Funding to stabilize and improve poison control
centers across the U.S.
- Programs to support the enhancement and improvement
of poison education, prevention, and treatment,
- Technical assistance to Poison Control Centers
to support strategic planning, collaboration, data
collection, media promotion, education outreach
and financial stability activities.
- Funding to assist uncertified centers become certified.
The Program is authorized through Public
Law 108-194, the Poison Control Center Enhancement
and Awareness Act, Amendments of 2003. This is
an amendment to Public
Law 106-174, which was enacted in 2000. The Act
authorizes funds to Poison Control Centers serving
all states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia,
Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the
American Samoa, in the following categories:
- Financial stabilization grants to assist with
financial stabilization and the improvement of services
in Poison Control Centers that meet American Association
of Poison Control Centers certification standards;
- Certification grants to assist uncertified Poison
Control Centers in efforts to attain American Association
of Poison Control Centers certification; and
- Incentive grants to provide funding to Poison
Control Centers that are working collaboratively
with other Poison Control Centers or with public
health agencies to improve poison control systems
In addition to authorizing financial assistance to
Poison Control Centers , Public Law 108-194 authorizes
funding for a single, national toll-free number (1-800-222-1222)
to ensure universal access to Poison Control Centers
services. This number connects callers with the Poison
Control Centers serving the area from which the call
is made. A national media campaign (The Poison Help
Campaign) has also been developed and implemented.
The campaigns goals are to educate the public about
poisoning risks, expand awareness of the national
toll-free hotline, and increase awareness of the national
network of Poison Control Centers and the services
they provide. This includes educating the public and
health care providers about poison prevention, the
availability of poison control resources and national
toll-free number to local communities, the cost savings
of utilizing a poison control center instead of going
to the emergency department, and the role poison centers
play as a source of information regarding terrorism
Other activities supported by the Poison Control
- Development of uniform patient management guidelines
so that Poison Control Centers can provide uniform
poison treatment recommendations.
- Improvement of data collection systems and toxic
exposure surveillance for enhanced capability to
capture national poisoning data.
- A study on the future of Poison Control Services
in the United States conducted by the National Academy
Exposure Surveillance System (TESS) database to
improve public health surveillance of chemical exposures
and other potential health hazards. (not
a U.S. government Web site)
- Supporting Multilingual phone service to the 61
poison control centers across the country; providing
interpreter services in 161 languages. This service
will offer the opportunity for poison centers to
provide quality services to underserved populations.
- Establishing a partnership with the Home Safety
Council (HSC) to develop poison prevention low literacy
materials as part of the Home
Safety Council Home Safety Literacy Project.
a U.S. government Web site)
If you have a poisoning emergency, call
If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911.
The Toll-Free Number Provides:
help, 24 hours a day, 7days a week
- Trained Pharmacists and Nurses ready to assist you
- Multilingual services
- Free access
More Poison Help