contracts and program guidance materials were reviewed. The Committee also drew upon two membership organizations of state agency directors, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and the State and Territorial Injury Prevention Directors Association, for information about the relationship of state agencies to poison control. These organizations conducted voluntary surveys of their member state organizations and provided us the information. Finally, the state plans for the National Bioterrorism Hospital Preparedness Program were reviewed for information on poison control center involvement.


This report is presented in three parts. Part I begins with this introductory chapter followed by Chapter 2, which provides an overview of the Committee’s proposal for a future Poison Prevention and Control System; a system does not exist at the moment and will need to be created.

In Part II, we review the historical development of the poison control network, the current status of poisoning as a public health problem, and the principal functional elements of the system. Chapters 3 through 9 describe the evidence and the analyses we used in reaching our conclusions and recommendations. Chapter 3 presents data estimating the magnitude of poisoning in the United States. Chapter 4 provides a historical context for the development and growth of poison control services through 2001. Chapters 5 through 9 examine the current status of poison control centers in terms of functions (including core services), personnel, quality assurance, organization, cost, funding, data and surveillance, prevention and public education, and linkages to federal, state, and local agencies.

Part III summarizes the argument for a new Poison Prevention and Control System by focusing on the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations. In Chapter 10, the concluding chapter, we link our analysis to our conception for the future system.

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