Poison Control Centers
Each $1 spent on poison control center services saves $7 in medical spending. In 2003, more than 1.2 million accidental poisonings among children ages 5 and under were reported to U.S. poison control centers. Calls to poison control centers peak between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. and during warmer months. Poison control centers are cost-effective and economical because 76 percent of their cases are resolved over the telephone, avoiding unnecessary emergency room visits, ambulance use, hospital admissions and treatment delays. When used under medical advice, activated charcoal can reduce the likelihood of severe poisoning, decrease the costs of a poisoning incident and prevent the need for a hospital emergency room visit to the emergency room. Poison Control Center Enhancement and Awareness Act of 2000 provided funding to establish a national toll-free phone number for poison control center services (1-800-222-1222), implement a national educational campaign and financially stabilize regional poison control centers.