Survey of state laws on Epi-Pen use in schools; ERC states split on policies
The Network for Public Health Law has just published a survey across all 50 states of laws addressing epi-pen use in schools. Food allergies affect six to eight percent of US children and that number is growing. Children are at greater risk than adults of life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to trigger foods, too often with tragic consequences. A prompt injection of epinephrine is the first choice for treatment. Almost all states have laws allowing competent students to carry and self-administer their own epi-pen at school. But consensus is growing that this may not be enough. One in four anaphylaxis reactions in schools afflict a child with no previous food allergy diagnosis. According to the new survey, 27 states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing schools to maintain non-student specific epinephrine for emergencies to be administered by appropriate personnel. ERC states are split on the issue. Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont have laws allowing, and in some cases requiring, non-student specific epinephrine access in schools. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania do not, but some have caveats. For more on state laws regarding epinephrine in schools, go to the survey.