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posted: 5/6/2013 5:00 AM

Poison center funding is a good investment

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I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the 60 Illinois General Assembly members for honoring the Illinois Poison Center's 60th anniversary by supporting funding for our state's only poison center. By celebrating this momentous occasion through their support for the nation's oldest poison center, these ILGA members have demonstrated their dedication to public safety in our state.

The IPC handled nearly 82,000 poison-related cases from throughout Illinois in 2012 alone -- nearly half of them involving children age 5 and under. In 2012, the IPC received more than 25,000 calls from Cook County alone. The IPC serves as a first responder for Illinoisans facing poisoning emergencies. The pharmacists, nurses, doctors and poison experts who staff the IPC provide timely poison prevention and treatment services for our children, seniors and families through a free, confidential hotline.

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Funding for the IPC not only protects and saves lives, but it is also a wise and important investment. The IPC receives approximately $1.3 million in state funding each year, and its work saves Illinois taxpayers more than $50 million annually unnecessary medical costs and 35,000 unnecessary trips to an emergency department. It is estimated that for every $1 invested in the IPC, there is a $13 savings in reduced health care and lost productivity costs.

As the nation's oldest poison center, we are proud to continue to serve the people of Illinois, and it is my hope that our legislators' support will ensure that we are able to serve for decades to come. Please join me in thanking our supporters who are committed to protecting the IPC's mission. For the full list of our legislative champions, visit our website at illinoispoisoncenter.org.

Dr. Michael Wahl

Medical director

Illinois Poison Center

Chicago

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