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Upstate Poison Center now one of only two in the state


SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Upstate Medical University's Upstate Poison Center will soon be one of only two such centers in the state after the Rochester-area poison center closes this month. Upstate began taking calls from the Buffalo area Dec. 17; calls from Rochester area should be routed to Upstate by Jan. 1.

The new alignment puts Upstate Poison Center in line to answer calls from 54 of the state's 62 counties, representing more than 7 million New Yorkers. The only part of the state not serviced by the Upstate Poison Center is Westchester County, New York City and Long Island.

The Upstate Poison Center employs 30 professionals on the Upstate campus and the new alignment promises to bring more resources and jobs to Syracuse.

The reduction of poison centers across the state was due to more than $2.5 million in spending cuts. As a result, five regional Poison Centers-Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, New York City and Long Island-have been consolidated into two centers-Upstate and New York City.

Christine Stork, Pharm.D., clinical director of the Upstate Poison Center, said, "We feel confident that it will be a seamless transition and look forward to serving New York residents in our newly proposed service area."

This isn't the first time Upstate's Poison Center expanded its service area. In 2001 the center's coverage grew from 14 to 42 counties when it assumed responsibility for the Hudson Valley.

The Upstate Poison Center operates as part of the Upstate Medical University and has an extensive professional education and public education program to compliment its call center. Close to 50 medical, nursing, and pharmacy students rotate through the center each year. The center also sponsors Toxicology Teaching Days in Syracuse and Albany and annually conducts more than 50 annual presentations to health care professions, including EMS providers. Its staff has served as contributing authors to textbooks, scholarly journals and other publications.

Poison centers provide 24-hour coverage for all poison emergencies, by calling 1-800-222-1222.