History of Poison Centers

[su_youtube url=”https://youtu.be/aDpO-Nv9Yh4″] [su_expand more_text=”Show More”] Poison control centers are the front-line responders to poison emergencies and are the leaders in poison prevention activities.  They provide cost-effective poison emergency treatment advice.  The first poison control center was established in Illinois more than 65 years ago.  Most early poison control centers were based in emergency departments or hospital pharmacies, staffed by nurses, doctors or pharmacists with limited toxicology training and few information resources.  Most people assumed that poison control centers would serve the toxicological needs of physicians; however, practitioners quickly realized that the public could benefit from the centers for guidance.  The information previously used by poison control centers to provide treatment advice in poison emergencies came from index cards that were produced by the National Clearinghouse for Poison Control Centers (NCPCC). During the 1970s and 1980s a move was made to consolidate and regionalize poison control centers.  The NCPCC was dissolved and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) became the centralized database and governing body for poison control centers across the country.  To improve the quality of poison emergency services, national standards and a certification process was developed. Since 1983, the AAPCC has been compiling data in the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System (TESS), now known as the National Poison Data System (NPDS), in cooperation with U.S. poison control centers. This is the single largest database of poisonings in the United States.  The data is used to quickly identify hazards, improve prevention efforts, and guide clinical research and direct training. Poison centers provide free, timely diagnosis and treatment advice to callers, such as parents, child care providers, pharmacists, nurses and doctors.  Because patients can seek early and free assistance, poison control centers can reduce the severity of poisonings, as well as the number of ineffective and potentially dangerous remedies.  More than 65% of the poisonings handled by poison control centers are managed safely at home through telephone consultation with highly trained staff.  These consultations eliminate unnecessary laboratory tests, ambulance transports, and visits to emergency rooms and physician offices. [/su_expand]