Tennessee has become the latest state to pass a law allowing epinephrine in public schools.
Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is used to treat a variety of symptoms, including anaphylaxis due to severe allergic reaction. Epinephrine is administered with an auto-injector, available commercially as Epi-Pens. With the law, Tennessee joins 26 other states that allow or require epinephrine to be stocked. It is the 16th state to pass an epinephrine law 2013 alone.
While no one doubts the efficacy of epinephrine, the barrier schools face is that some states require an epinephrine prescription for specific use to be allowed on school campuses.
“Epinephrine is the first line treatment for these severe reactions,” said Dr. Michael Pistiner, a pediatric allergist, told the Associated Press. “Studies show that delays in treatment with epinephrine increase risk of death.”
The AP story tells the tale of a first grade girl with a peanut allergy who died; experts believe she would have lived if the school had neeb able to administer epinephrine. Virginia has since enacted a law requiring all schools to have epinephrine on hand.
West Virginia is also considering epinephrine legislation, according to a separate AP story.
“In rural West Virginia, [the epinephrine law] is huge because by the time we do get emergency services to respond, it could be too late,” said registered nurse Becky King.
“The fact that West Virginia was proactive and [proposed an epinephrine law] before they had to lose a child is great. It’s a safety factor,” state Board of Education President Gayle Manchin said during a meeting last week.
What do you think about the epinephrine laws? Should schools be required to stock epinephrine? Has epinephrine saved your life or that of someone you know?