About Us

Life of the BRPC

A Day in the Life of the BRPC Want to know more about who calls us and why?

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The Blue Ridge Poison Center (BRPC) is staffed by nurses and doctors specially trained to handle all sorts of poisonings: from medicines, plants, household products, industrial chemicals, snake bites, carbon monoxide, and more.Our experts are available by phone for immediate, confidential, and FREE treatment advice 24 hours a day, every single day. We also answer questions about poison safety, including questions about the safe use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines.

The BRPC also has public health educators on staff who teach poisoning prevention to people of all ages, and medical toxicologists who perform research and teach other healthcare providers about managing poisoned patients. Meet our staff.

Our Service Area

Our poison center serves over 2.4 million people and 45 hospitals within Southwest Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, and part of Southside Virginia. (see our territory). Each year, our specialists handle an average of 58,000 calls. A call can last anywhere from a few seconds to over 20 minutes. Check our our call statistics from 2015.

Regional Poison Center

The Blue Ridge Poison Center is part of the University of Virginia Health System. Our partners include the UVA Department of Medical Toxicology and the UVA Health System Emergency Services. In 2015, the BRPC was awarded recertification as a Regional Poison Center by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. This certification lasts for 7 years.

Why call the poison center?

Calling our toll-free hotline gives you immediate access to doctors and nurses who are experts in treating poisoned patients. Our experts are standing by to help 24 hours a day, every single day. Most of the time, callers can be guided to treat their poisoning at home, avoiding a costly trip to the doctor. We estimate this saves Virginians millions of dollars in unnecessary medical bills each year. Don’t wait for someone to look or feel sick; call right away if someone:

  • Swallowed something they shouldn’t have swallowed.
  • Made a medicine mistake (took or gave too much, or the wrong product).
  • Got something harmful in the eyes, on the skin, or breathed in something harmful.
    (NOTE: If someone is not breathing, or won’t wake up, call 9-1-1 right away)
2018 Annual Report

Poisoning is a leading cause of injury hospitalization and injury death in the U.S. ¹ In 2017, the Blue Ridge Poison Center (BRPC) handled nearly 20,000 calls about people coming into contact with harmful substances. An additional 3,000 people called the BRPC to ask a question or get information.Children under age 6 were responsible for the most calls—42%. Why so many?

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