States enact laws to stock epinephrine at schools

Matthew Zalaznick's picture
Monday, October 21, 2013

When a third-grade student who had been stung by a wasp developed welts on his neck and had trouble breathing, school nurse Amanda Williams had the necessary dose of epinephrine to counter the allergic reaction.

A law Tennessee enacted this year makes it easier for schools to stock the life-saving drug. Williams said the emergency room doctor told the boy's parents that he probably wouldn't have survived without the injection at Tellico Plains Elementary because it's a 30-minute drive to the nearest hospital.

Fifteen other states enacted similar laws in 2013, joining 11 others that already had them, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While only four of the states require schools to have the medication on hand, all the laws allow schools to stock it without a prescription for an individual person _ a legal hurdle in many places _ and provide legal protection for staff members who administer it.

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