Press Release

American Association of Poison Control Centers Celebrates the Value of Poison Centers During National Poison Prevention Week

March 17, 2016 | Download PDF

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) will unite with poison centers across the country, as well as poison prevention organizations and advocates, to celebrate the 54th Annual National Poison Prevention Week, March 20-26, 2016. In 1961, the United States Congress designated the third week in March each year as National Poison Prevention Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness about poisoning in the U.S. and highlighting specific ways to prevent it.

This year’s National Poison Prevention Week will focus on two overarching themes: Children Act Fast, So Do Poisons and Poisonings Span a Lifetime. Additionally, daily themes will be observed during the week, including a day dedicated to recognizing the important role poison centers play in the communities they serve. On Tuesday, March 22, AAPCC encourages the public to celebrate the value of America’s poison control system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), poisoning remains the leading cause of injury death in the United States. “In 2014, America’s poison control centers managed 2.9 million calls, about 2.2 million of which were about people coming into contact with dangerous or potentially dangerous substances,” said Jay L. Schauben, PharmD, DABAT, FAACT, Director of the Florida/USVI Poison Information Center in Jacksonville, and current AAPCC President. “National Poison Prevention Week allows poison centers to emphasize poison prevention education to help prevent poisoning accidents before they occur and to raise awareness that health care professionals are available around the clock for assistance in our nation’s poison centers.”

Jointly, America’s 55 poison centers provide services to the entire U.S. population in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Poison centers save lives and protect the health of Americans through direct medical services, data collection and monitoring, and educational outreach, at no cost to the public. “Poisonings can happen anywhere and to anyone. While the majority of poisonings happen at home, they can also occur in the workplace, schools, and healthcare facilities. Parents and older adults are not the only ones who benefit from poison control services. Health care providers in emergency rooms and hospitals rely on the experts at poison centers to assist in the diagnosis and treatment their patients as well,” said Dr. Schauben.

In 2014, approximately 68 percent of human exposures reported to poison centers were treated at the exposure site, saving millions of dollars in unnecessary hospital visits. Unfortunately, budget cuts continue to threaten the existence of poison centers. “Poison centers save Americans more than $1.8 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity, however, without continued funding, many poison centers could be forced to close their doors,” said Stephen T. Kaminski, JD, AAPCC CEO and Executive Director. “The poison control system is extremely cost-efficient, as it takes just $0.43 a year per U.S. resident to fund the nation’s poison control system, a network of 55 poison centers working tirelessly to provide free services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round through the Poison Help line.”

During National Poison Prevention Week, AAPCC encourages the public to visit http://www.aapcc.org/about/poison-center-donations/ to find out how to donate to local poison centers.

For more information on National Poison Prevention Week, visit: http://www.poisonprevention.org/. For additional poison prevention tips and resources, visit AAPCC’s National Poison Prevention Week webpage at: http://www.aapcc.org/prevention/nppw/

For more information, the media may contact Angela Gonzales, AAPCC Associate Manager, Communications and Outreach, at 703-894-1865 or gonzales@aapcc.org.

AAPCC supports the nation’s 55 poison center members in their efforts to treat and prevent drug, consumer product, animal, environmental and food poisoning. Members staff the Poison Help hotline at 1-800-222-1222 that provides free, confidential, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year from toxicology specialists, including nurses, pharmacists, physicians and poison information providers. In addition, AAPCC maintains the only poison information and surveillance database in the United States, providing real-time monitoring of unusual poisoning patterns, chemical exposures and other emerging public health hazards. AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as HRSA, CDC, FDA and EPA, as well as private industry. Be prepared for a poisoning emergency and program the Poison Help phone number into your mobile telephone today – 1 (800) 222-1222.

To learn more, visit www.aapcc.org, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter (@AAPCC).

For More Information

  • Edward V. Walrod

    • Associate Manager for Media and Public Relations
    • Email: media at aapcc dot org
    • 703-894-1863

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