Kentucky may become only state without poison control center

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, R, proposed a two-year spending plan that eliminates $729,000 in state funds for the Kentucky Poison Control Center, which could make Kentucky the only state without access to a poison control center, according to The Virginian-Pilot.

The poison control center in downtown Louisville receives all calls made within Kentucky to the national poison control hotline. Police, hospitals and parents use this service over 136 times daily in Kentucky for emergency guidance on exposure to opioids and harmful substances.

The proposed cut would slash the program's $1.7 million budget by 43 percent. Most of the center's other funding comes from Louisville-based Norton Healthcare.

If the program is eliminated, poison control hotline callers would hear an automatic recording that says the service is not available in their area, directing them to either call 911 or visit their local emergency room, said Riggs Lewis, Norton's vice president for health policy.

The center is one of 70 state programs Mr. Bevin is proposing to eliminate, including funds for cancer research and a network of severe weather monitoring stations across the state.

State officials have not yet said what they would do about the budget cuts, according to the report. The potential limit in state funding means "difficult choices must be made," said Doug Hogan, spokesman for the state agency that oversees the poison control center's contract.

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