Who We Are, and What We Do
The Oregon Poison Center is a 24-hour health care information and treatment resource serving Oregon, Alaska and Guam.
The poison center was established by an act of the Oregon State Legislature in 1978 to provide emergency treatment information for patients experiencing a poisoning or toxic exposure. The Oregon Poison Center is also responsible for providing public outreach and education to health care professionals. The Poison Center staff is made up of doctors and nurses trained in toxicology. Our staff handles nearly 60,000 calls a year.
The Poison Center Staff utilizes their professional expertise as well as an extensive variety of computer databases, textbooks and journal articles to determine the appropriate treatment guidelines for patients. Careful assessment of patient condition as well as substance of exposure is necessary before determining treatment recommendations. The poison center staff utilizes continuous follow-up and evaluation to determine whether the recommended treatment is effective in producing a positive patient outcome.
Over half (53%) of the patients receiving assistance from the Oregon Poison Center are children less than six-years-of-age. This was 27,842 calls in 2006! Adults over 19 years of age represent about 34% of exposure cases. Most calls originate from the public, seeking initial advice prior to any other contact with health care providers.
Medications represent the most frequent substance of exposure. Exposures to household products are the second most frequent reason for contacting the center. Modern technology has resulted in an increased number of chemicals in our daily environment. This fact, coupled with increased public awareness, is resulting in increased utilization of poison center services after workplace and environmental chemical exposures, as well.
Minimize Societal Impact of Poisoning
The Poison Center staff is committed to cost-saving measures in the management poison patients. This goal includes the appropriate management of poison exposed victims in their homes or referrals for hospital management. Poison prevention efforts are also incorporated within our care.
An estimated four million poisonings occur in the United States each year. The majority of these occur in children, and nearly all of these are preventable. In an effort to reduce the incidence of accidental poisoning, the Oregon Poison Center maintains a commitment to providing poison prevention information and education to our citizens.