Media Contacts

Marty Malheiro

Email: marty.malheiro@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-587-0603

Mar 14, 2014 11:30 AM

SALT LAKE CITY – Saving lives 24/7 – poison centers provide free, confidential medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year.  Poisoning in a big deal!  It is the leading cause of death from injuries in the United States – ahead of motor vehicle crash and gun deaths.  Poison centers manage a new poisoning case every 10 seconds. 

The Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) will join poison centers around the country in celebrating National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW) March 16 through 22, 2014. 

Since 1962, the President of the United States has proclaimed the third week of March as National Poison Prevention Week to raise awareness about the dangers of poisoning and to prevent

poisonings from occurring.  Governor Gary R. Herbert signed a proclamation declaring this week as Poison Prevention Week in Utah. 

“The UPCC and America’s other 55 poison centers are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of every American through poison prevention and free, confidential, expert medical services,” said Barbara Insley Crouch, PharmD, MSPH, Executive Director. “Our poison center responds to calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week in order to help those who have been exposed to toxic substances.” 

Poison centers are an excellent value for the public.  For every dollar spent on poison centers, $13.39 is saved.  In Utah, $24-$48 million in health care costs are averted every year because of utilization of the poison center. 

2014 is the 60th anniversary of the Utah Poison Control Center.  We are proud to continue this great service for Utahns.  “Poisoning can occur at anytime and to anyone,” Crouch said. “The UPCC works 24/7 to help those who have been exposed to a poison or to answer the public’s questions about a potential poisoning. We also reach out to our communities with information about how poisonings occur and ways to prevent them. Prevention is the best possible medicine.” 

Despite the great strides that have been made over the years, more work needs to be done to reduce the burden from poisonings.  The past few years poisoning has surpassed motor vehicle crashes as the number one cause of unintentional injury deaths in Utah and the nation.  Poison centers play a vital role in the nation’s public health system and in combating this unfortunate national trend.  

If the unthinkable happens, it’s good to know help is just a phone call away.  Program your cell phone with the Poison Help number and post it near your home phone. 1-800-222-1222. 

Events like NPPW emphasize the most common poisoning risks for adults and children, and offer educational resources for parents to protect their children and adults to make informed decisions regarding use of medications.  Connect with us on Facebookã for daily messages on poison prevention.  For more information on NPPW or poison prevention in general, visit www.utahpoisoncontrol.org, or call the UPCC at 1-800-222-1222. 

About the Utah Poison Control Center

The Utah Poison Control Center was established in 1954.  It was one of the first poison centers in the United States. The UPCC is a program of the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy; staffed around-the-clock with pharmacists and nurses with additional training in clinical toxicology.

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