When many people think of poison control, they often think about the child that gets a mouthful of bleach or perhaps eats a mushroom found in the yard. While these calls certainly are handled by the Washington Poison Center, there is so much more that your local poison center can do for you. Our clinical specialists on the phones handled on average 180 calls a day from the public and healthcare providers on intentional drug overdoses, accidental exposures, snake bites, mushroom and food poisonings and more. In addition to providing emergency clinical services to the state, the WAPC educates our future healthcare providers through its clinical education program. Pharmacists, nurses, physicians and students rotate through the Center to learn about toxicology and how to manage these critically ill patients. We recognize that educating healthcare providers isn’t enough though, and to that end, our two MPH trained health educators go out into the community and engage our parents, youth, and community organizers to address the issues affecting our youth today.
From e-cigarettes to marijuana to the opioid epidemic, our health educators are able to bring the poison center to you and empower you to make positive changes in your community.
Behind the scenes, the Washington Poison Center is a game-changer in public health and legislative affairs. Thanks to our Toxic Trend Reports, the WAPC has been able to ignite the fire in our community leaders on such topics as e-cigarettes, marijuana and secure medicine return. Being the drug and poisoning experts in the state, the toxicologists of the WAPC are frequently called upon to testify in front of the Senate and House Health Care Committees during legislative sessions. The WAPC is often a strong voice at the table advocating for increased public health funding and greater scrutiny on emerging drugs and products which threaten our health. The WAPC is also a critical member in the emergency response capabilities of the State. Having been activated for various public health emergencies in the state such as mumps, measles and tuberculosis, the poison center has continued to demonstrate its ability to stand up at a moment’s notice for the good of the community and state.