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Poison Control Center State Laws

Poison Control Center Laws

Updated May 2011

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If you have a poisoning emergency, please call 1-800-222-1222

 

Every 13 seconds in the United States a poison control center receives a call about an unintentional poisoning.  Ninety-three percent of poisonings happen in the home.  More than half of the two million poisoning incidents each year involve children younger than six years of age. The most common exposures in children less than six years old were cosmetics or personal care products.

According to the Institute of Medicine, every dollar spent on poison control center services saves $7 in medical spending.  Over seventy percent of poisonings are treated by poison control centers over the phone, with advice given by trained pharmacists and registered nurses.  As a result, fewer emergency room visits, ambulance calls and hospital admissions are necessary.  The centers monitor thousands of consumer products and prepare themselves to offer immediate advice about treatment. A 2005 study funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration Poison Control Program found that pre-hospital management of poison exposures save $653 million from a reduction of emergency department visits, and an additional $993 million as a result from reduced length of inpatient hospital stay.

The poison center movement began in the 1950s when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) established a child injury prevention committee.  In the 1950s, poisoning was one of the most common injuries.  The Chicago chapter of the AAP created the first poison center in 1953 to provide pediatricians with product information related to poisonings.  In 1966, the concept of regional poison centers was developed and the focus of the centers expanded to provide information to the general public, not just physicians.

Local hospitals were once the primary source of funding for poison control centers, but hospital budgets have experienced their own fiscal constraints, resulting in cutbacks. In addition, as the number of poison control centers declined, the geographic areas of the remaining centers grew to the point that local hospitals did not want to provide services outside of their own areas. Hospitals and other health care providers remain among the primary users of the expertise offered by poison control centers.  Congress recognized the value of these centers with the passage of the Poison Center Enhancement and Awareness Act in 2000 and the reauthorization of the Act in 2003 and 2008. These acts mandate the establishment of a nationwide toll-free phone number (1-800-222-1222) to be used to access regional poison control centers.  However, poison control centers continue to face difficulties in securing stable, long-term funding.  At least seventy-five percent of centers receive less than twenty-five percent of total funding from federal sources, and approximately half of poison control centers receive more than fifty percent of total funding from state sources.  Almost one-third of centers reported facing a real threat of closure in the past five years.

All 50 states, American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are served by at least one poison control center.  According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there are 56 poison control centers to serve individuals residing in all 50 states and United States territories.  At least 30 states have statutes related to poison control centers or poison prevention.  Appropriations are the most common legislative action related to poison control centers, usually line items in state budgets. Although most states fund poison control centers through general appropriations, some states have begun using alternative supplemental funding approaches.  For example, to fund poison control centers Utah imposes an emergency services telephone charge of seven cents per month on certain telephone services, and Florida uses some of the funds accrued from the sale of certain license plates.

First Letter of State: A C D F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W

 

State

Summary of Statutes

Alabama

The Alabama Poison Control Center was established in 1979; it was not established through legislation. In 2008, the Alabama Poison Center officially became a division within Shelton State Community College.  
Alaska  
American Samoa  
Arizona Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 36-1161 et seq. require the Department of Health Services to establish a poison and drug information center located at and affiliated with the University of Arizona.  The law was amended by Ariz. Sess. Laws, Chap. 10 (HB 2013 of the 2009 Third Special Session) to establishes two separate poison control centers. The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, located at the University of Arizona, shall serve all counties except Maricopa County. The second, privately-operated center shall exclusively serve Maricopa County. The law requires that each center provide comprehensive poison and drug information and management of poisoned persons.

Arkansas

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 20-13-501, et seq. establish a statewide emergency poison control drug information-toxicological laboratory services program designed and structured to deliver professional judgments and responses to requests for emergency poison control drug information data and toxicological laboratory services.

Ark. Stat. Ann. § 20-13-704, et seq. require the Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center to be structured and designed to meet the criteria for certification as a state poison control center by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The law lists the powers and duties of the director of the Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center.

2010 Ark. Acts, Act 287 (SB 90 of 2010), (appropriations bill; not codified), directs funds to the University of Arkansas for Medical Services for providing additional support for the Arkansas Poison and Drug Information Center.

California

Cal. Health and Safety Code § 1797.97 et seq. define poison control center and provide guidelines for the Maddy Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fund. A portion of the fund shall be distributed for other emergency medical services determined by each county, including the funding of regional poison control centers.

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1798.180 et seq.  require minimum standards to be set for the operation of poison control centers.  The law requires the establishment of geographical service areas and criteria for designation of regional poison control centers. The law allows the number of poison control centers to be consolidated if it results in cost-savings. The law allows a poison control center to contract with an entity in another state to provide poison control services if the center is unable to provide poison control services 24 hours a day; or the entity in the other state provides the same poison control services.

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1799.105 declares that regional poison control centers, medical directors and poison information specialists shall be immune from liability in civil damages unless they are found to be grossly negligent or perform acts or omissions not in good faith.

Cal. Health & Safety Code § 108785 penalties collected in violation of the Children's Poison Protection Act of 1990 (§108755) are to be allocated to the Maddy Emergency Medical Services Fund and appropriated by the Legislature to the California Regional Poison Control Centers for poison prevention education programs.

Colorado

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-1.5-101 requires the Department of Public Health and Environment to provide statewide poison control services and provide for the dissemination of information related to the care and treatment of individuals exposed to poisonous substances.

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 25-32-101 et seq. request that a 24-hour toll-free telephone network be allocated money by the department of public health and environment in order that the illness or death that may result from the exposure of an individual to poisonous substances may be avoided.  The law requires dissemination of poison information by persons who are trained in poison control education and the prevention, triage and treatment of poisoning by persons certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.  The law was amended in 2005 (HB 1201) to require poison control centers meet criteria established by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10a-132 (2002) requires the University of Connecticut Health Center to include a Poison Information Center, open 24 hours a day. The law requires hospitals to report to the Poison Information Center certain accidental poisonings.

Delaware

 

District of Columbia

2008 D.C. Stat., Chap. L17-219 (B 678), (appropriations bill; not codified), the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Support Act of 2008, appropriates funds from within the Community Health Administration to the National Capital Poison Center to provide operational support for poison-control activities, subject to terms and conditions approved by the Department of Health.

Florida

Fla. Stat. § 320.08058(32) directs the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to develop an American Red Cross license plate. The law requires that 50 percent of the annual fees be distributed proportionately to the three statewide approved poison control centers.

Fla. Stat. § 395.1027 requires that three accredited regional poison control centers be created. The law requires each center to be affiliated with and located in a Level I trauma center as well as affiliated with an accredited medical school or college of pharmacy. Each regional poison control center must provide toll-free access; case management; professional consultation; prevention education; and data collection and reporting. The law requires telephone numbers for regional poison control centers to be given special prominence, and lists requirements. Each regional poison control center must develop a pre-hospital emergency dispatch protocol (Fla. Stat. §401.268).  Allows patient medical records to be released to poison control centers for the purpose of treating a poisoning episode. 

Fla. Stat. § 395.3025 and 456.057 specify that medical records may be disclosed from a hospital without patient consent to a regional poison control center for the purposes of treating a poison episode under evaluation, case management of poison cases, or compliance with data collection and reporting requirements.

Georgia

2010 Ga. Laws, p. 352 (HB 947) reduces funds for Georgia Poison Control Center to reflect a change in the Medicaid federal participation rate.  The Georgia Poison Center  was established in 1970; it was not established through legislation.

Guam

 

Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 321-224 specifies that the department of health may assist in the implementation of a statewide poison information program, including the provision of a hospital-based poison center's services certified by the department.

Idaho

Idaho Code § 56-1036, et. seq. (2002) establish a statewide poison control center. Services of the center include providing 24-hour emergency telephone assistance, information to health professionals and coordination and development of community education programs.

Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 20, § 2305/8 requires the Department of Public Health to annually make grants to regional poison resource centers to provide information on poison prevention, detection, surveillance and treatment. The law requires the department to develop standards to delineate the responsibilities of poison resource centers.

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 410, § 47/5 et seq requires the director of the Department of Public Health to designate up to three poison control centers. The services provided by the centers must adhere to national standards. The law directs poison control centers to cooperate to reduce the cost of operations, collect information on poisoning exposures and provide education to the public and health professionals. The law was amended in 2003 (HB 4560) to fund a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a formula that sets state goals for funding the poison control system. The law requires completion of the study by December 31, 2005. 

Indiana

 

Iowa

Iowa Code § 206.2 defines poison control center as an entity existing as part of a hospital which is an institutional member of the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

The Iowa Statewide Poison Control Center was established in 2000 through an appropriation from the Tobacco Settlement Fund (2000 Iowa Acts, Chap. 1221).

Kansas

 

Kentucky

 

Louisiana

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:2797.1 presents legislative findings and provides some exemptions from liability for civil damages for poison control centers.

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1296 requires the Department of Health and Hospitals to establish a statewide poison control center at Northeast Louisiana University. The law requires the center to include operation of a statewide toll-free telephone number.

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1346 (1999) designates the Maine Poison Center, located at the Maine Medical Center, as the official state poison control center. The law requires the center to provide clinical toxicology services. The law requires the center to achieve certification from a national association of poison control centers by December 1, 2004. The law directs the center to seek funding from other sources.

Maryland

 

Massachusetts

Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 17 § 4A (2001) provides for "a poison information and control center to accept inquiries and provide comprehensive, full-time, centralized professional information" in the Department of Public Health. The law gives the Department of Public Health flexibility in the provision of poison control services.

Michigan

Mich. Comp. Laws § 333.1011 et seq. require the Department of Public Health to establish a state plan for the creation and operation of a poison control center network. The law directs the department to establish an advisory committee to develop guidelines for the implementation and operation of the state plan. The law specifies standards, policies and procedures.

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 145.93 establishes the Minnesota poison information centers. The law directs the commissioner to solicit applications from the poison information centers each odd-numbered year by giving reasonable public notice of the availability of money. The law directs the commissioner to select the applicants that best fulfill specified criteria.

Mississippi

 

Missouri

Mo. Rev. Stat. § 190.353, et seq. create an Advisory Committee on Poison Control within the Department of Health and Senior Services. The law directs the committee to establish the Missouri Regional Poison Information Center and the Missouri Poison Control Network. The law also directs the committee to establish policies for data collection, to develop a systematic plan for statewide education and to fund educational programs. The law requires the poison information center to provide a 24-hour toll-free telephone service; design education services; cooperate with the Missouri poison control network and health and other emergency service agencies and associations; evaluate programs; and coordinate the activities of poison prevention and treatment centers. An amendment in 2006 dissolved the Advisory Committee on Poison Control and transferred all duties and power to the Department of Health and Senior Services.  (2006 HB 1437)

Montana

 

Nebraska

The Nebraska Regional Poison Center was established in 1957; it was not established through legislation.

2011 Legislative Bill 525 requires the Department of Health and Human Services to submit an application to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to amend the state plan or seek a waiver to provide for utilization of the unused administrative cap. The waiver would allow for payments to the Nebraska Regional Poison Center to help offset the cost of the treatment of children that are eligible for assistance under the medical assistance program or CHIP. Upon approval of the amendment the University of Nebraska Medical Center shall transfer up to $250,000 to the Health and Human Services Cash Fund to meet the state match to maximize the use of the unused administrative cap. The department shall transfer the combined funds for the operation of the Nebraska Regional Poison Center. If no amendment is approved then the University of Nebraska Medical Center may use the remaining appropriation for the operation of the Nebraska Regional Poison Center. The University of Nebraska Medical Center shall report the amount transferred to the department in the prior fiscal year and the amount of matching funds received for the Nebraska Regional Poison Center on or before October 1 of every year.

Nevada

2007 Nev. Stats., Chap. 5, (appropriations bill; not codified), appropriates over $150,000 to the department of health and human services to fund poison control call centers. (AB 199)

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 454.130 requires each pharmacy have available to the public the telephone number of the closest poison control center.

New Hampshire

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 126-A:49 et seq. (1995) direct the commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services to develop and designate a statewide program for poison information and treatment to provide residents with information and medical consultation on a 24-hour basis.

New Jersey

N.J. Rev. Stat. § 26:2-119, et. seq. (1982) direct the commissioner of the Department of Health to establish a statewide program of poison control and drug information with services available on a 24-hour basis.

New Mexico

 

New York

N.Y. Public Health Law § 2500-d requires the commissioner of the Department of Health to designate facilities as regional poison control centers. The law directs the commissioner to consider certain criteria and establish minimum standards related to regional poison control centers. The law requires the department to make an annual report to the legislature. The law directs the commissioner to appoint a committee to advise the department on poison prevention and control. The law allows the commissioner to determine issues related to costs of services. The law authorizes the commissioner to make grants to general hospitals designated as regional poison control centers.

North Carolina

 

North Dakota

 

Ohio

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3701.19 et seq. require the director of health to establish, promote and maintain the Ohio poison control network; designate regions within the network; and designate poison prevention and treatment centers within each region. The law lists criteria for eligibility as a poison prevention and treatment center. The law directs the public health council to adopt rules to establish certain guidelines, standards and procedures. The law requires the director of health to make grants to poison prevention and treatment centers. The law requires poison prevention and treatment centers to provide certain services, including a 24-hour toll-free telephone line, specialized treatment, consultation, information and educational programs and compile information on the types and frequency of the treatment it provides. The law requires the director to annually report to the general assembly.

Oklahoma

Okla. Stat. tit. 63, § 2654.1 et seq. create the Oklahoma Poison Control Act, which directs the Oklahoma Poison Control Center to be created within the Children's Hospital of Oklahoma. The purpose of the center is to implement a statewide emergency poison and drug information program designed and structured to deliver reliable, accurate, qualified professional judgments and responses to requests for emergency poison and drug information data. The law lists the duties of the director.

Oregon

Or. Rev. Stat. § 431.890 (1991) creates the Poison Prevention Task Force in the Poison Center of the Oregon Health Sciences University. The task force reviews, grants or denies certain requests. The law directs the task force to obtain and evaluate statewide poisoning incidence and severity data every two years.

Or. Rev. Stat. § 442.625 requires five percent of the Emergency Medical Services Enhancement Account fund to be distributed to the Oregon Poison Control Center.

Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Poison Center was established in 1971; it was not established through legislation.

The Poison Control Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was established in 1986; it was not established through legislation.

Puerto Rico

 

Rhode Island

 

South Carolina

The Palmetto Poison Center was not established through legislation. 

South Dakota

 

Tennessee

Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-141-101 et seq. (1991) authorize the Department of Health to establish and maintain a system of poison control centers. The law allows the commissioner of health to consider certain criteria and establish minimum standards in designating regional control centers. The law also allows the commissioner to appoint members to the Tennessee poison control network advisory committee to advise the department. The law also allows the commissioner to annually report to the general assembly.

Texas

Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 771.051 specifies that the Commission on State Emergency Communications shall administer the statewide 9-1-1 service and the poison control network, including poison control centers under § 777.

Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 777.001 et seq. (1993) create six regional poison control centers. The law requires the poison control centers to provide a 24-hour toll-free telephone referral and information service. The law requires the poison control centers to provide community education programs, information and education, professional and technical assistance and consultation services. The law also lists regulations regarding staff, research programs, state liability, the coordinating committee and funding.

Tex. Occupations Code Ann. § 153.015, § 202.161§ 254.017, § 301.1582, § 351.167 and § 554.015 require various state boards to provide license holders with information on poison control centers, including the services they provide.  These state boards include the Medical Examiners, Podiatric Medical Examiners, Dental Examiners, Nursing, Optometry and Pharmacy.

Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 777.013 requires the Department of State Health Services to provide epidemiological support to the regional poison control centers to: maximize the use of data collected by the poison control network; assist the regional poison control centers with quality control and quality assurance; assist with research; and coordinate poison control activities with other public health activities. The law also requires each regional poison control center to provide the Department of State Health Services with access to all data and information collected for public health activities and epidemiological and toxicological investigations. (2009 Tex. Gen. Laws, Chap. 347; 2009 HB 1093)

U.S. Virgin Islands

 

Utah

Utah Code Ann. § 69-2-5.5 (1998) imposes an emergency services telephone charge of seven cents per month on certain telephone services to fund the Poison Control Center.

Utah Code Ann. § 69-2-5.7 (2011) imposes a prepaid wireless 911 service charge from a prepaid wireless customer at the point of retail sale, and 9.2 percent of the revenue shall be distributed to the Utah Poison Control Center. (2011 HB 303)

The Utah Poison Control Center was established in 1954; it was not established through legislation.

Vermont

 

Virginia

Va. Code § 32.1-111.15 (1996) directs the Board of Health to establish a statewide poison control system. The poison control centers must meet national certification standards. The Board must establish minimum standards. The poison control centers must report to the Board each year. The law directs the statewide system to provide a 24-hour emergency telephone line, prevention education and information, training and poison control surveillance.

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 18.76.010 et seq. state that the purpose of the Poison Information Center is to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with overdose and poisoning incidents.  The law directs the Department of Health to support the state-wide program of poison and drug information services. The law requires that services include a 24-hour emergency telephone hotline, information services, coordination and development of community education programs and coordination of outreach units.

West Virginia

W. Va. Code §18B-11B-1 et seq. (2006) continue the West Virginia Poison Center, operated by West Virginia University and certified by the American Association of Poison Centers (or a similar organization), and exempts it from hiring freezes affecting the university.  The law creates the West Virginia Poison Center Advisory Board.  The law states that the center must provide 24-hour, seven days per week emergency telephone management and treatment referral; emergency telephone treatment recommendations for all types of poisonings, chemical exposures, drug overdoses and exposure to weapons of mass destruction; telephone follow-up for patients; and surveillance of human poison exposures and community education. (HB 4651, Chapter 177)

Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 255.35 (1993) requires the department to implement a statewide poison control system to provide poison control services that are available statewide, on a 24-hour basis, including poison information and education. The law directs the department to distribute funding each fiscal year. The law directs poison control centers to maintain a statewide toll-free hotline, an on-line staff member, a poison information specialist, a pharmacy graduate and enrollee and a poison information provider. The law directs the department to promulgate rules that specify that necessary information is reported to the department for surveillance purposes.

Wyoming

 

 Sources:  National Conference of State Legislatures and StateNet
Note: List may not be comprehensive, but is representative of state laws that exist. NCSL appreciates additions and corrections.
 

Resources

  • NCSL Postcard on Poison Control Centers
  • American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC)
    The American Association of Poison Control Centers is a nationwide organization of poison centers and interested individuals.  The website includes a list of U.S. Poison Control Centers, U.S. Poison Prevention and Education Centers, International Poison Control and Prevention Centers and a list of AAPCC Certified Poison Centers.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Poison Control Program
    • Poison Help
      Provides information about Poison Help and poison prevention, including a list of regional poison centers by state.
  • MedicineNet.com
    MedicineNet is a nationally recognized organization which provides comprehensive information on Poison Control Centers in specific states.
  • National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
    The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works to reduce morbidity, disability, mortality and costs associated with injuries, including poisoning. 
  • PoisonPrevention.org
    The Poison Prevention Week Council website provides information and tips to promote community involvement in poison prevention activities.

 

NOTE: NCSL provides links to other websites for information purposes only. Providing these links does not necessarily indicate NCSL's support or endorsement of the site.

 

 

This site is made possible by project, UC4MC21528, from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Title V, Social Security Act), Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

 

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