Illinois Poison Center


Integral to our mission of improving the delivery of health care services in the Chicago area, the Illinois Poison Center (IPC) has been one of our essential public service programs since 1997, providing all Illinois residents and health care providers with comprehensive information and treatment advice on potentially harmful substances.

The IPC is the nation’s oldest and largest poison center in the United States and the only certified poison center serving the nearly 13 million residents of Illinois.

The center operates a free, confidential helpline — 800-222-1222 — staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by specially trained physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other poison information specialists. These experienced professionals provide treatment recommendations for exposures to potentially harmful substances, including medication – reactions and errors, reactions to household and health care products, drug overdose, alcohol and drug misuse, gaseous fumes, insect or animal bites and stings, and hazardous materials.

IPC handles more than 80,000 calls each year, resolving 90 percent of poisoning cases from the general public over the telephone, preventing unnecessary 911 calls and visits to a doctor or hospital. The result is a savings of more than $52 million a year in unnecessary health care costs – ambulance transports, ER visits, etc.

The IPC delivers a number of specialized programs and services, including:

  • Resources for Healthcare ProfessionalsPhysicians, nurses, EMS professionals and pharmacists rely on the IPC to provide consultation. Roughly 30 percent of calls to the IPC come from health care professionals.
  • SurveillanceThe IPC’s 80,000-plus cases per year comprise a unique database that provides a real-time snapshot of poisoning in Illinois. With this database new, emerging public health threats can be identified and tracked.
  • Community-based poison prevention initiatives and websiteThe IPC provides educational materials and online resources for all Illinois residents via the Poison Prevention Education Course and Resource Center, website educational activities, blog and My Child Ate… resource library.

A reputable and highly regarded source of reliable toxicology information, the IPC is a nonprofit organization supported by public and private grants, contributions and donations. More than 95 percent of all Illinois acute care hospitals partner with the IPC and provide financial contributions to support its operation.