Lack Of Funding Could Lead To Illinois Poison Center Closure - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Lack Of Funding Could Lead To Illinois Poison Center Closure

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It's a resource for families across the state, but the Illinois Poison Center could shut its doors if lawmakers don't act fast.  Funding for the service could be gone as early as June.  It's a service used by many across the state, including right here in the Quad Cities. Just last year the Illinois Poison Center gave treatment to more than 1200 callers from the Quad Cities. Those numbers break down to 954 exposures in Rock Island county, 254 in Henry county and 84 exposures in Mercer county.

The Illinois Poison Center's Director, Michael Wahl says if the service closes up shop, a lot of people would be in trouble. "In the case of a poisoning, the poison center ends up being consulted by healthcare providers," said Wahl.  "That is going to go away and when that goes away, outcomes are going to worsen and it is very likely that people are going to die."  According to Wahl, funding for this service has been declining for the last five years and the service has been losing $1.5 million dollars a year.  

Illinois lawmakers recognize how much of a resource this is and are working on a solution. A measure in the Illinois Senate is just one solution to the problem. "It's a 73-cent charge on cell phone users. most of the money goes towards the 9-11 centers," said Illinois Senator Don Harmon of Oak Park. "We can simply redirect two pennies a month to the poison center to keep the poison center open forever."

The center director says the service takes about 80,00 callers a year, averaging about 200 callers a day. There are no other funding options if this measure doesn't get the support of  lawmakers.
  

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