Congresswoman Diana DeGette

Representing the First District of Colorado
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DeGette Introduces Poison Control Bill

Jan 14, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), along with Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY), Susan Brooks (R-IN), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) have introduced H.R. 501, the Poison Center Network Enhancement Act of 2019, to assist with potential poison exposures and help combat the national opioid epidemic.

Poison control centers are vital to preventing toxic exposure and poisoning injury and deaths, including opioid and other drug overdoses. This bill reauthorizes funding for the Poison Center Network, including their national toll-free number (800) 222-1222. It also clarifies that poison control centers can be called upon to assist with public health emergencies, responses, and preparedness; and requests that enhanced communications capabilities like texting be established.

“Our poison control centers play a vital role in the fight to combat the nation’s growing opioid epidemic. Not only do these centers help us identify communities at a heightened risk of opioid abuse, they also provide training and education programs on safe opioid prescribing practices. If we, as a country, are going to be serious about protecting the public from the dangers of opioid misuse, funding these centers is a must,” Rep. DeGette said. 

“The Poison Control network is a valuable tool to help keep families safe and to combat the nationwide opioid crisis. In Westchester County, 124 people died due to opioids in 2016. In the Bronx, more New Yorkers died of overdoses than in any other borough. This bill shows an ongoing bipartisan commitment to continuing support for the nation’s poison control centers that millions of Americans rely on every year. I am proud that we were able to introduce it so early in the 116th Congress,” Rep. Engel said.  

“On behalf of the 1,852 Hoosiers who died of an opioid overdose in 2017, I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this bill because poison control centers are essential to combatting the deadly opioid crisis. These centers across the country are fielding almost 192 cases a day of opioid abuse and misuse and compile data that can be used to discover hotspots for opioid abuse and misuse. It is important we reauthorize the national network of poison control centers because they save lives by offering free, confidential, and expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Rep. Brooks said.

“We are facing a crisis level of opioid overdoses in our country and Congress has to continue combatting this devastating epidemic. One important tool we have is the network of Poison Control Centers, which are on the front lines of preventing drug overdoses in our communities. I am proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan effort to ensure the Poison Control Network is equipped to educate, raise awareness, and continue their work to save lives in Southwest Washington and communities across our country,” Rep. Herrera Beutler said.