What You Need to Know About the Maryland Poison Center
Facts that May Surprise You:
- Each year, more than 1 million suspected poisoning exposures in children younger than 6 years old are reported to poison centers across the country.
- Approximately 33,000 poisonings and overdoses are reported to the Maryland Poison Center every year.
The Maryland Poison Center provides emergency assessment of poison exposures, treatment recommendations, education and prevention information to the majority of Maryland’s residents. Established as a service of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 1972, we are a regional poison center certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
The First Call You Need to Make:
The Maryland Poison Center is the first place to call in the event of a suspected poisoning. We receive approximately 57,000 calls per year ranging from poisoning emergencies to poison information requests. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide you with safe, effective emergency treatment advice and we are also here to answer any non-urgent questions you might have about poisons.
A Team of Experts Ready to Help You:
When you call us, you can be assured that your situation is in the hands of the most qualified, highly-trained health care professionals. The Maryland Poison Center is staffed at all times by licensed pharmacists and nurses -- all with additional training in clinical toxicology (the study of poisons). Each specialist is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers as a certified specialist in poison information. In addition, a board-certified medical toxicologist is available for medical consultation 24 hours a day.
Educational Resources for Everyone:
Our services stretch beyond emergency treatment advice. We are committed to providing the latest poison prevention and treatment information to both the public and healthcare professionals.
For the Public:
Our educational resources are designed to help increase the awareness of potential poisons and what to do if a poisoning occurs. To reinforce this message, our health educators offer poison prevention training courses to parents, teachers, and daycare providers. Stickers and magnets displaying the nationwide poison help phone number are available. Everyone is encouraged to program 1-800-222-1222 into their mobile phones. This number will connect you to a regional poison center anywhere in the United States. The Maryland Poison Center also provides free fact sheets on poison prevention and awareness.
For Health Care Professionals:
Our specialists continuously provide training on overdoses, poisonings, and a variety of other topics to pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and paramedics. Programs are offered as in-services, grand rounds, and other presentations. Healthcare professionals visit our facility for onsite training to see firsthand how a poison center operates.
In addition, we have a two-year fellowship in clinical toxicology for pharmacists that provides them with the experience and education needed to become a poison center director. The healthcare professionals who treat poisonings and overdoses often call us for up-to-date treatment information. We maintain extensive resources on poisonings, including computer databases and toxicology-related books.
Saving Dollars While Saving Lives:
While saving a life is absolutely priceless, the Maryland Poison Center saves money by managing approximately 70 percent of all cases safely and inexpensively at home. We prevent an estimated 15 to 30 million dollars in unnecessary emergency department costs each year. And for every dollar spent on poison center services, at least $13.69 is saved in overall health care costs.
A Number to Remember:
We have the ability to handle calls from deaf and hard of hearing callers. For non-English speaking callers we use an interpreting service to relay and translate information and instructions over the phone.
For administrative issues, such as information about our educational programs, please call 410-706-7604 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. To order educational materials, please go to our website.