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.
On November 13, 2013 President Obama signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which encourages states to adopt laws requiring schools to have on hand “stock” epinephrine auto-injectors.
Click on the video below or click here to watch the President sign it into law.
The legislation, which FARE championed for two years at a national level, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on July30 where is was sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and the Senate on October 31 with sponsorship by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL); in both cases with strong bipartisan support.
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.
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 2014, we may see a doubling or tripling of the number of states that allow schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors! Click here to view a map of the current status of legislation across the U.S.
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.