Utahns now can call a national toll-free number for potentially life-saving help from the Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC) in Salt Lake City. The new listing - 1-800-222-1222 - consolidates telephone numbers of more than 130 poison centers nationwide, including the UPCC. Although the Utah center's current phone number still works, people who call the new, toll-free number automatically are routed to the poison control center nearest the telephone from where they're calling. The UPCC, part of the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, will officially introduce the toll-free number on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 12:30 p.m. at the Bright Horizons Day Care Center in Research Park near the U. UPCC Director Barbara Insley Crouch, Pharm.D, MSPH, and associate professor at College of Pharmacy; Utah State Sen. David Steele, R-Davis County, a sponsor of the original legislation to fund the UPCC; and Alyson O'Steen, Mrs. Salt Lake County, will speak briefly at the conference. O'Steen gained firsthand experience with the UPCC after her son swallowed a potentially lethal dose of vitamins a couple of years ago. "Our goal is to make the new number as familiar as 911 or 411," Crouch said.

The Utah Poison Control Center received more than 47,000 calls last year. Nearly two-thirds of the calls involved children under age 6 who had swallowed potentially dangerous substances ranging from cosmetics and household cleaning products to medicines such as analgesics and iron tablets. UPCC is open 24 hours a day all year and is staffed by pharmacists and nurses trained in toxicology. Martin Caravati, M.D., M.P.H., professor of emergency medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine, serves as UPCC medical director. National poison control officials will kick off an awareness campaign for the new number on Jan. 29 in Washington, D.C.

Editor's Note: To find Bright Horizons, in Research Park southeast of the U of U campus, take Foothill Boulevard to Wakara Way and turn east into Research Park. Look for the sign for building 421 and turn right into the parking lot there. Stay in the outside right lane of the parking lot and follow it around the curve east to the upper parking lot. Park in the spaces marked with green visitor signs. From there, follow the signs labeled "news conference" to Bright Horizons.

For information contact:
Utah Poison Control Center
Ph. (801) 587-0603