First-Ever National Toll-Free Hotline Comes to Oregon Poison Center at OHSU

03/14/02    Portland, Ore.

New 800 number is launched as part of National Poison Prevention Week

Now no matter where you are in Oregon or across the country, you can call 1 800 222-1222 for poison information. When you call in Oregon, Alaska and northern Nevada your call will be routed to the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU, where trained registered nurses will help you.

The Oregon Poison Center has joined with 65 other poison centers across the country and the American Association of Poison Control Centers in offering this new hotline. No matter where you are in the United States, you can call 1 800 222-1222 and the call will be sent to the poison center nearest you, said Tonya Drayden, R.N., M.S.N., C.S.P.I, education coordinator for the Oregon Poison Center.

"Our goal is to make this new hot line as familiar as the emergency police, fire and medical emergency dispatch number, 911. For concerns regarding a poisoning, this number will connect you immediately to a nurse trained in toxicology who will assist in emergency care. In most poisoning incidents, the poison center nurses can manage the patient at home, without requiring 911 or hospital care. In situations in which additional emergency treatment may be needed the poison center nurses will help the patient receive the appropriate assistance,"Drayden said.

This number is being released in time for National Poison Prevention Week, March 17 – 23, because it marks the beginning of the season when the highest amount of calls are made to poison centers. Drayden said that there is more potential for poisonings in the warmer months when people are traveling and spending more time outdoors. Some common calls include those concerning children accidentally taking a relatives’ medicine, children who eat poisonous plants, and people needing information about jellyfish stings and snake bites.

The theme for this year’s National Poison Prevention Week is: "Children Act Fast ... So Do Poisons."Drayden said that parents and caregivers should always be watchful and careful when household chemicals or drugs are in the house. These items should be stored away from children. More than 100,000 children are poisoned every year in the United States. The Oregon Poison Center is open 24 hours a day, every day. It received 55,000 calls last year, or 156 calls a day.

Note: To hear the new 1 800-222-1222 jingle connect to