Provides authoritative guidelines for the establishment or improvement of national programmes for poison control. Addressed to policy-makers and the administrators of specialized facilities, the book responds to the need for comprehensive advice on the most rationale and effective ways to manage the greatly increased number of poisoned patients seen throughout the world. Strategies for the prevention of poisoning are also described. The guidelines draw on the practical experiences of numerous well-established poison centres in different parts of the world. Although recommended lines of action have universal relevance, the book gives particular attention to the situation in developing countries, where a basic infrastructure for the care of poisoned patients is often absent and special problems arise from the lack of adequate communications, transportation, drugs, and support services. Throughout, emphasis is placed on the role and functions of a poison information centre as a crucial component of any national programme for poison control. The book has nine chapters presented in two parts. Part one provides an overview of the policy issues surrounding decisions to introduce measures, including specialized facilities, for the prevention and management of poisoning. Arguing that a poison information centre should be available in every country, part one also describes the benefits of such centres, outlines their principal functions, and suggests various options for their logical and cost-effective operation. Against this background, part two provides detailed technical advice on how to organize and operate the various facilities and services that make up a comprehensive system for poison control. Separate chapters describe the functions and requirements of information services, clinical services, and analytical toxicological and other laboratory services, and discuss the importance of toxicovigilance as a strategy for prevention.