School Access to Epinephrine
Expanding the availability of epinephrine auto-injectors in schools is a significant advocacy focus for FARE. With approximately 20-25 percent of epinephrine administrations in the school setting involving students or staffers whose allergy was unknown at the time of the event, the availability of undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors -- devices that are not prescribed to a particular student and that may be used in anaphylactic emergencies – is critical. Many students who may need epinephrine may have no known history of allergy to food, bee stings, latex and other allergens, and therefore would not have a prescription of their own.
About thirty states have either introduced or are very close to introducing legislation allowing schools to stock undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors. Some twenty states have already passed such laws. By the end of 2013, we may see a doubling or tripling of the number of states that allow schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors!
The bills and laws can differ by state. In some cases, only a school nurse can administer the epinephrine auto-injector to a student with no known history of food allergy. In other instances, multiple designees may administer the medication in an emergency.
FARE staff has been actively involved in a number of state efforts – from identifying advocates to providing data and information about best practices, to providing letters of support and working alongside allied professionals with a shared goal of expanding access to epinephrine. If you are interested in learning more about what is happening in your state, and how to get involved, please use our Contact Us form and select Advocacy for your subject line.
FARE is also working on federal legislation that would encourage states to adopt laws allowing schools to have on hand “stock” epinephrine auto-injectors.
During the 112th Congress, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, as did Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in the House of Representatives.
Prior to the bill's introduction, former FAAN CEO Maria L. Acebal, joined by Rhonda Adkins, wife of country music superstar and Celebrity Ambassador Who Cares Trace Adkins, and Adkins’s young daughter Brianna, visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill to urge them to support this lifesaving legislation.
Reintroduction of the bills in the 113th Congress is imminent and we'll need your help to get support from your senators and representatives! Watch this space for updates and tools that will help you deliver the message and encourage your representatives to advance food allergy safety.
Check out who has signed on as a co-sponsor of the bill:
The bill has also been endorsed by:
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
- American Academy of Emergency Medicine
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
- National Association of Elementary School Principals
- National Association of School Nurses
In addition to protecting those whose epinephrine auto-injector isn’t immediately accessible during a reaction, this legislation will help save the lives of those who experience an anaphylactic reaction and don’t have a prescribed epinephrine auto-injector.
The federal legislation will provide an incentive for states to enact their own laws allowing school personnel to keep and administer a non-student specific epinephrine auto-injector in case of an emergency.
Thank you for your help gathering support for S. 1884/H.R. 3627. We will keep you posted as FARE continues to work to secure passage of this important legislation. Together, we can save the lives of those with potentially life-threatening food allergies.