By Kelley Lindberg
Two school students’ lives were saved this month because of the new law in Nevada allowing schools to keep stock EpiPens on hand. An 8th grader suffered their first allergic reaction during a cooking class, and a school nurse grabbed an EpiPen and administered it while others called 911. Then, two days later, a 9th grader suffered anaphylactic symptoms during lunch, and the school staff administered an EpiPen while 911 was called. (See "EpiPens Saving Lives on School Campuses.")
So far, 27 states have made it legal for schools to keep “stock” epinephrine auto-injectors on hand to use on students who don’t have their own prescriptions. A surprising number of the allergic reactions that happen at school are first-time reactions in students who didn’t previously have an allergy. (You can develop a food allergy at any age, often to foods you’ve eaten without any problems for years.) Since those kids obviously won’t have their own prescriptions, it’s essential for schools to have their own supply on hand.
On November 13, 2013, President Obama signed into law the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act, which encourages states to pass laws allowing schools to stock epinephrine and treat students who don’t have a prescription for it. The law enables states that pass such laws to be eligible for grants that will allow them to stock their schools with epinephrine auto-injectors. Fortunately, Utah is one of the 27 states that allow stock epinephrine in schools.
In addition, Mylan Specialty, the company that manufactures EpiPens, has a program called EpiPen4Schools that provides free EpiPens to schools to improve the access to epinephrine for students who have reactions while at school.
The following is the list of the 27 states that allow schools to stock epinephrine auto-injectors as of October of last year (2013). Additional states may be considering similar legislation this year. If your state is on this list, call your local school to make sure they have EpiPens or other auto-injectors on hand. If they don’t, let them know about Mylan’s generous and life-saving EpiPen4Schools program.
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- West Virginia