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The legislature finds that accidental and purposeful exposure to drugs, poisons, and toxic substances continues to be a severe health problem in the state of Washington. It further finds that a significant reduction in the consequences of such accidental exposures has occurred as a result of the services provided by poison information centers.
The purpose of this chapter is to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with overdose and poisoning incidents by providing emergency telephone assistance and treatment referral to victims of such incidents, by providing immediate treatment information to health care professionals, and public education and prevention programs. Further, the purpose is to improve utilization of drugs by providing information to health professionals relating to appropriate therapeutic drug use.
The legislature recognizes that enhanced cooperation between the emergency medical system and poison control centers will aid in responding to emergencies resulting from exposure to drugs, poisons, and toxic substances, and that, by providing telephone assistance to individuals with possible exposure to these substances, the need for emergency room and professional office visits will be reduced. As a result the cost of health care to those who may have exposures to drugs, poisons, and toxic substances will be avoided and appropriate treatment will be assured.
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