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BIRMINGHAM, AL – A report released today confirms the value of the American poison center system, indicating that poison centers save Americans more than $1.8 billion every year in medical costs and lost productivity, according to Rick Dart, M.D., Ph.D, past-president of the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).

“Even though poison centers save countless lives and more than a billion dollars each year, America’s 57 poison centers suffered a federal funding cut of 36 percent in 2011, as well as cuts in state and local funding,” Dart said. “Further reductions in funding will make it difficult for poison centers to continue to provide life-saving services. This important report shows the value poison centers bring to the nation’s health care system.”
According to the Final Report on the Value of the Poison Center System, commissioned by the Lewin Group, every dollar invested in the poison center system saves $13.39 in medical costs and lost productivity, for a total savings of more than $1.8 billion every year. The report also determined that the cost to fund poison centers is 43 cents per U.S. resident per year.

About the American Association of Poison Control Centers
The AAPCC supports the nation’s 57 poison centers 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, the 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. The AAPCC partners with federal agencies such as EPA, HRSA and the CDC, as well as private industry.

About the Regional Poison Control Center at Children’s of Alabama
The Regional Poison Control Center at Children’s of Alabama was founded in 1958 and is the 14th oldest poison center in the United States. The center is staffed by nurses, doctors, pharmacists, and toxicologists. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide immediate advice and non-emergency information. They offer service to the hearing impaired and non-English speaking populations. In addition to serving the public, emergency room doctors and nurses call the poison center when they have questions about treatment or prevention. Local poison centers also collect information that is used to safeguard public health.