May 182014
ipc - Illinois Poison Center

The Illinois Poison Center needs your help. The center will close July 1, 2014, which means it will be the only state without a poison center.

There are 57 Poison Centers across the country…not one National center. When one places a call to the poison center, the caller’s phone number tells the system where to filter that call, as not all states have a poison center. That said, states pay their share to the states that do have the centers.  However, Illinois hosts their own Poison Center.

The Illinois Poison Center is the nation’s oldest poison center and it simply doesn’t have the funding needed to keep running. There’s a solution to the problem, called the “2 Cent Solution.”  That said, they need support in getting their legislature to understand how important it is to consumers to keep the center running.

Have you any idea how detrimental this could be to residents if they close the Illinois Poison Center? It’s estimated that 80,000 calls are answered by the Illinois Poison Center. If you found yourself in a situation where you accidentally took the wrong prescription med or your child did something like my daughter and her friend did…where would you turn? Even doctors and hospitals utilize the Poison Centers.

If you’ve never had the need to call the poison center’s main number – consider yourself very blessed. I, on the other hand, found the need to do so when my daughter was small. She was in grade school – old enough to play outside without me standing over her. Well this one day, she was outside playing with a neighborhood boy and I went out to check on them.

They were just outside the side entrance door to our apartment. I looked out there to find the boy giving her a piece of a leaf of a hosta plant, as he was chewing on’ something’. I was only able to assume he was eating a piece of the leaf. I then looked at the plant and saw where he had torn a couple leaves apart. I panicked! I asked them both if they both ate the leaves. The answer – yes. How much? I don’t know – from both of them. Did you swallow it? Yes.

I brought them both into the house, called the Poison Center’s number that was on our phone (I’d put a sticker there never thinking I’d be using it, but am so glad that I had). Within no time my called was answered and I was asked what the problem was. I explained what I had come upon. The call center employee immediately began to ask me questions. Questions that I thankfully could answer. He then told me that the kids should be just fine; the plant wasn’t poisonous.

Can you only imagine if these kids had gotten into a poisonous plant – what the outcome could have been to their little bodies? I was very fortunate to have had that Poison Center’s phone number front row and center – time is of essence in a situation as such.  One truly never knows when a number and resource as such will be needed.

Please take the time to advocate in keeping the Illinois Poison Center open. It not only is needed by those who have the need to utilize this resource, but it will help keep healthcare costs down.

Advocating is simple – go to to learn how.

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