Role of Poison Centers in Emergency Health Care, Preparedness and Response


Reaffirmed by the ACEP Board of Directors April 2016

Revised and approved by the ACEP Board of Directors September 2010 titled "Role of Poison Centers in Emergency Health Care, Preparedness, and Response"   

Reaffirmed by the ACEP Board of Directors October 2006 

Revised and approved by the ACEP Board of Directors March 2000 

Originally approved by the ACEP Board of Directors titled "Poison Information and Treatment Systems" September 1995 

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) strongly supports the availability of high-quality, fully funded, certified poison centers to provide: 

  • Triage and management of poisoning calls from the public, saving medical expenditures for unnecessary healthcare visits while referring patients appropriately when medical evaluation is needed, as well as mitigating overcrowding of emergency departments.
  • Consultation to physicians and other health care providers in the diagnosis and management of poisoning cases.
  • Preparedness and response services to emergency responders, health care providers, public health officials, and the public during pandemics, public health emergencies and other hazards events, including chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents.
  • Data surveillance to detect and monitor disease outbreaks and epidemiological trends.
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ACEP supports the availability of evidence-based poison center triage/management services and prevention policies through legislative and regulatory advocacy at the local, state and national levels.

Emergency physicians have a unique opportunity and responsibility to work with stakeholders to reduce the prevalence and impact of poisonings through advocacy, education and research initiatives.

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