Starting Jan. 1, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act (H.R. 2094) will take effect. This important legislation will help protect students with food allergies. The bill encourages states to adopt laws requiring schools to have “stock” epinephrine auto-injectors on hand, such as EpiPens, that are not prescribed to a specific student but can be used for any student or staff member in an emergency.
Presently only a handful of states require the stocking of the epinephrine auto-injectors.
According to text of the bill, it amends the Public Health Service Act “to increase the preference given, in awarding certain asthma-related grants, to certain States (those allowing trained school personnel to administer epinephrine and meeting other related requirements).”
It requires that each public elementary school and secondary school in the state to permit trained personnel of the school to administer epinephrine to any student of the school reasonably believed to be having an anaphylactic reaction; maintains a supply of epinephrine in a secure location that is easily accessible to trained personnel of the school for the purpose of administration to any student of the school reasonably believed to be having an anaphylactic reaction; and has in place a plan for having on the premises of the school during all operating hours of the school one or more individuals who are trained personnel of the school.
It also gives civil liability protection, which means a state law offering legal protection to individuals who give aid on a voluntary basis in an emergency to an individual who is ill, in peril, or otherwise incapacitated.
The bill was introduced by Rep. David “Phil” Roe, R-Tenn. According to Gop.gov there are nearly six million children in the United States who have food allergies. Anaphylaxis, a serious form of allergic reaction, is potentially fatal. In the case of an allergic reaction to food, epinephrine can be used to stop deadly swelling of the throat and tongue that occurs in an anaphylactic reaction. It also can help maintain normal blood pressure for someone suffering from an allergic reaction. However, in the case of an emergency, epinephrine is needed in a short period of time. Considering that a quarter of anaphylaxis cases in U.S. schools happen without previous knowledge of a food allergy, an emergency supply of epinephrine can potentially save lives.