Oregon Poison Center
The Oregon Poison Center is a 24-hour health care information and treatment resource for poison emergencies 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, nurses, and pharmacists trained in toxicology. Our staff handles nearly 50,000 calls a year.
Our staff uses 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.
Just under half (47 %) of the patients receiving assistance from the Oregon Poison Center are children less than six-years-of-age. This was 20,284 calls in 2017! Adults over 19 years of age represent about 39% 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. Poison center services are also being utilized after workplace and environmental chemical exposures.
Minimize societal impact of poisoning
Poison Center staff are committed to cost-saving measures in the management poisoned patients. This goal includes the appropriate management of patients 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.