About Us, 2020
There are 2 ways to get help from Poison Control:
- Online, using the webPOISONCONTROL® t
ool, or By phone at 1-800-222-1222.
In 2020, the National Capital Poison Center managed 8% of the human poison exposures reported to U.S. poison centers. Seventy-six percent of the Center's caseload consists of cases managed online from all over the U.S. and beyond.
The National Capital Poison Center (NCPC), founded in 1980, is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. NCPC is not a government agency.
Our mission is to prevent poisonings, save lives, and limit injury from poisoning by providing free, expert guidance online or by phone, 24/7. Poison control services optimize poisoning outcomes and decrease health care costs.
While fulfilling this mission, we are committed to building a diverse and inclusive community, serving each of you with respect and compassion. We provide free guidance to everyone who reaches out to us for help with a poisoning, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, political view, or insurance coverage. When you contact us for help, we don’t ask you about any of that. We only ask you for medically relevant information which may include age, gender, and weight, but only so we can give you the best care and so we can make appropriate triage and treatment recommendations. There is no judging. All of the information you give us is kept private and confidential.
- Everyone who reaches out to us for guidance. We strive to satisfy each of your needs and to exceed your expectations. We are committed to making a difference in the community, one case at a time, recognizing that each one of you is unique and that we all have individual differences. Each of you will be treated with dignity and care.
- Excellence. With integrity, respect, professionalism and innovation, we aim to provide each of you with the highest quality of service.
- Public Health. We are dedicated to improving the public’s safety through an unrelenting search for hazards, aggressive advocacy of hazard elimination, effective public education in poison prevention, and successful collaborations with community and public health partners.
- Online triage guidance for possible poisonings: The National Capital Poison Center manages webPOISONCONTROL, a fully-automated virtual poison center. webPOISONCONTROL provides online triage guidance for unintentional poisonings for those who prefer not to, or can't, dial into a hotline for help. It's available through your browser at poison.org and as an app on the App Store or Google Play. The logic, algorithms and recommendations that power the tool are written by board-certified toxicology experts, each with decades of experience in poison control.
- Traditional call center services: NCPC also provides guidance for possible poisonings and questions about poisons by telephone, for the DC metro area. Telephone guidance, like the online service, is free of charge. Telephone calls to NCPC's hotline are managed by Specialists in Poison Information, highly trained pharmacists and nurses, with back-up provided by board-certified physician toxicologists.
- Poison prevention education, delivered through:
- poison.org, a website with more than 1 million visits per month,
- The Poison Post®, an eNewsletter with updates on poisoning hazards and seasonal topics related to poisonings,
- a Facebook page and Twitter account with time sensitive prevention and awareness messages,
- a youtube channel,
- distribution of printed teaching and prevention materials (stickers, magnets, brochures, posters),
- press releases, interviews, radio and TV appearances, public service announcements.
- Hazard detection and elimination through poisoning surveillance. Poisonings are best prevented by detecting unusual hazards and working with industry and regulatory agencies to reformulate, repackage or ban unnecessarily hazardous products before children are needlessly injured. National Capital Poison Center has an active product surveillance program and has taken the lead in numerous regulatory petitions and industry and consumer alerts.
- Professional education in state-of-the-art treatment of poisonings. Nearly 3,000 physicians, medical students, residents, nurses, and paramedics in the DC metro area are trained by NCPC each year.
- Health care cost-containment. By handling 70% of poison exposure cases at home, NCPC helps poisoned patients avoid the cost (and stress) of unnecessary emergency department visits and ambulance runs. Studies have shown that poison centers cost effective, saving at least $6 for every dollar spent on poison control.
Consult Volume (2020)
- 208,794 consultations including:
- 158,378 human poison exposures managed online through webPOISONCONTROL,
- 40,199 human poison exposures and 2,018 pet poisonings managed by phone (10,368 of those were consultations to physicians and nurses caring for poisoned patients),
- 8,199 calls for medical, drug, or poison prevention information.
- National scope (and beyond): webPOISONCONTROL, poison.org, social media and The Poison Post®,
- Washington, DC metro area: call center, professional education, and distribution of printed public education materials.
$5.5 million, supported through grants and contributions
Poisoned? Get Expert Help.
Don't guess what you should do. Get accurate Poison Control answers online or by phone. Both are free and confidential.
or CALL 1-800-222-1222
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Learn the Poison Prevention Jingles
Learn the Poison Help jingle in English or Spanish. Use these jingles to teach the Poison Control number: 1-800-222-1222. Available for download.
Local Poison Statistics
Local data are available for the Washington, DC metro area.