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The telephone hot line automatically connects callers to the closest local poison center.
WASHINGTON -- The American Association of Poison Control Centers and the nation's 65 local poison control centers have a new telephone number -- (800) 222-1222 -- a toll-free national hot line that provides access to the country's 65 poison control centers with one phone call.
On average, poison control centers receive a call for emergency assistance or advice every 14 seconds, which is more than 6,000 calls a day, said U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio.
Legislation: DeWine authored the Poison Control Center Enhancement and Awareness Act, which strengthens funding for local poison control centers and institutes a national effort to educate parents, the American public, and health care providers on the prevention and treatment of accidental poisonings.
The bill passed the Senate in 1999 and was signed into law by president Clinton on Feb. 25, 2000.
For the first time, DeWine said, the new hot line makes this life-saving resource available through one national number. The new hot line automatically connects callers to the closest local poison center no matter where they call from in the country.
Through the hot line, the doctors, nurses and pharmacists who make up the national network of poison control centers can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week, DeWine said.
Saves money: The senator said the new hot line also has economic benefits. "For every dollar spent on poison center services, $7 can be saved in medical costs. Most cases of poison exposure do not require a trip to the emergency room and can be treated and monitored at home with the advice provided by poison control professionals," he said.
Also, AAPCC created a new national symbol for America's poison centers, which reads Poison HELP and includes the (800) 222-1222 toll-free number.
The symbol is available on stickers, magnets, brochures and posters from regional area poison control centers in Cleveland at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital and in Columbus and Cincinnati.

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