Poison and Drug Information Center Given Nod of Approval

June 28, 2001

The Finger Lakes Regional Poison and Drug Information Center has been re-accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers as the designated poison center serving nine counties within the Finger Lakes region. The reaccredidation means the Center will continue to serve as this area's hub of poison and drug information for at least another five years.

"To maintain this accreditation, it is necessary to annually demonstrate compliance with all certification criteria," says managing director and associate medical director John Benitez, M.D., M.P.H. "We could not do this without the community's help and we're thankful so many people are making use of our services."

The Finger Lakes Regional Poison and Drug Information Center was founded in 1955, and is the second-oldest poison center in the country. It provides vital information and counsel to health care professionals and the general public in Chemung, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties.

"We provide information about all kinds of poisons and drugs, offer poison- prevention education, and have information about treatment services for all age groups," Benitez says. "Our staff members have expertise in dealing with poisoning caused by medications, chemicals, natural products, and snake and insect bites."

To speak with a specialist at the Center, call 1-800-222-1222 (please note this is a new number). In Rochester, the Center can be reached at 275-3232, or at TTY number 273-3854. The Center is staffed by medical toxicology physicians, and registered nurses and pharmacists specially trained and certified in toxicology are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will answer questions confidentially. The service is free.

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