computer code for TESS is owned by a private company, further complicating its use and distribution.

Recommendation

11. The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should ensure that exposure surveillance data generated by the poison control centers and currently reported in the Toxic Exposure Surveillance System are available to all appropriate local, state, and federal public health units and to the poison control centers on a “real-time” basis at no additional cost to these users. These data should also be publicly accessible with oversight mechanisms and privacy guarantees and at a cost consistent with other major public use systems such as those currently managed by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Research Needs

The Committee made an attempt, within the constraints of the available literature and data systems, to document the magnitude of the poisoning problem and its cost, in terms of health care outcomes, to the nation. The results of this analysis are provided in Chapter 3. We concluded that despite limitations in the data, poisoning is a far greater problem than has been generally recognized and it deserves a higher level of scrutiny and support. The Committee has provided rough estimates that at best need to be refined to become the basis of policy. Therefore, as a first step, the Committee recommends a baseline assessment of the magnitude and cost of poisoning. Furthermore, the Committee found a dearth of research on poisoning and poison control center operations and encourages funding of research in this area.

Recommendation

12. Federally funded research should be provided for (1) studies on the epidemiology of poisoning, (2) the prevention and treatment of poisoning and drug overdose, (3) health services access and delivery, (4) strategies to improve regulations and facilitate researchers’ input into regulatory procedures, and (5) the cost efficiency of the new Poison Prevention and Control System on population-based outcomes for general and specific poisonings.

  1. CDC should take the lead in marshalling the relevant data pertaining to the epidemiology of poisoning. It should produce a comprehensive report estimating the national incidence of poisoning morbidity and mortality, exploiting its existing data sources. Within the centers, the National



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