Texas Panhandle Poison Center

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy, Amarillo

The Texas Panhandle Poison Center (TPPC) opened in September of 1994 and has provided the residents of Texas with easily accessed, concise, up-to-date, quality poison information and poison prevention programs ever since. TPPC at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in Amarillo has been continuously certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers since 2001.  TPPC is one of six vital centers in the Texas Poison Center Network.

The Texas Panhandle Poison Center is designated to serve the 71 counties in Public Health Regions (PHR) 1 and 2 which covers about a quarter of the land mass of Texas and around 1,400,000 people.

The TPPC employees four full-time certified poison information specialists who are all registered nurses. These poison information specialists answer calls to the poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222 and provide expert answers and treatment advise to both the general public and healthcare providers. The TPPC also employees a specialist in community outreach to provide poison safety education programs throughout the 71-county region. A medical director and managing director oversee center operations and provide toxicology lectures to healthcare professionals. And an administrative assistance helps keep everything running smoothly.

One of the many programs and services that the TPPC provides is Medication Cleanout™ (MCO), a nationally recognized program medication take-back program. The mission of MCO is to prevent poisonings, misuse, and abuse while protecting the environment through medication take-back events and drop-boxes. The first Medication Cleanout™ event occurred in Amarillo, TX on September 12, 2009.

Since that time, there have been over 65 Medication Cleanout™ events with more than 55,000 pounds of unwanted medication safely disposed. The collected medications are destroyed and are no longer available as a source for poisonings, abuse, misuse or environmental contamination. The unique aspect of MCO is that many data points are collected from each event and researched to help develop permanent and sustainable solutions to the problem of medication waste in the future.