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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Obama Signs Bill to Increase EpiPen Availability in Schools

Posted by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 9:52 PM
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2 moms liked this
European Pressphoto Agency
President Barack Obama signs the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13, 2013. (EPA/Kristoffer Tripplaar/ POOL)

President Barack Obama signed legislation Wednesday aimed at increasing the availability of epinephrine in schools, saying the law will help people like his daughter,Malia, who suffers from a peanut allergy.

The medicine can help prevent adverse reactions and death in children with severe food allergies.

The law, which took two years to move through Congress, comes after two students — one in Illinois and one in Virginia — died after ingesting peanuts and suffering an anaphylactic reaction while at school. The law provides an incentive to states to boost the stockpile of epinephrine at schools.

“This is something that will save children’s lives,” Mr. Obama said at a ceremony to sign the bill, adding that “some people may know that Malia actually has a peanut allergy.” Mr. Obama said making sure so-called EpiPens are available in case of emergency in schools “is something that every parent can understand.” (Video of the event is here.)

Rather than require schools to stockpile EpiPens, the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Law provides a financial incentive. States that require schools maintain a supply of the medication and permit trained school personnel to administer it will get preference for receiving federal children’s asthma-treatment grants. A similar preference has been in existence since 2004 for states that allow students to self-administer medication to treat asthma and anaphylaxis.

Only four states currently require schools to stock epinephrine, including Nebraska, Virginia, Maryland and Nevada, according to the Food Allergy Research & Education advocacy group. About 20 other states allow schools to stock the medication but don’t explicitly require they do so. Advocates for the bill say the law will provide a carrot for states to go a step further and mandate schools stock the medication.

“I think anytime the House, Senate and president all say this is something we should do, we should stock epinephrine in schools, I think this will reopen the debate among those states that have already passed, but haven’t mandated it,” said John Lehr, CEO of the Food Allergy Research & Education organization.

Last year, a 7-year-old girl at Hopkins Road Elementary school in Chesterfield County, Va., died after eating a peanut on the playground. She did not have an EpiPen at school. In 2010, a 13-year old girl died after eating food that had been ordered in for a school event and contained peanut oil.

The following year, Illinois passed a law allowing – but not requiring — schools to maintain a supply of epinephrine on site and to have school nurses to administer the medication to any student suffering a severe allergic reaction. A few months later, Illinois’ U.S. senators, Richard Durbin, a Democrat, and Mark Kirk, a Republican, introduced the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act to encourage states to go beyond simply allowing schools to stockpile the medication.

The bill languished for more than a year, despite bipartisan support and as an array of backers pushing for its passage, including doctors’ and nurses’ associations, advocacy groups and country-music star Trace Adkins and his daughter, who has  severe food allergies. The bill’s fate was hung up on liability issues, as critics contended the legislation – as written – would set a dangerous precedence for so-called “Good Samaritan” laws. The legislation was tweaked to require state attorneys general to certify a state has reviewed any applicable civil liability protection laws and has concluded it provides protection “to such trained personnel” who administer the medication.

After the signing ceremony, Mr. Obama watched Rob Nichols, one of FARE’s board of trustees and the president of the Financial Services Forum, demonstrate a new high-tech epinephrine auto-injector, which talks people through administering the medication.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/11/13/obama-signs-bill-to-increase-epipen-availability-in-schools/

by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 9:52 PM
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Replies (1-10):
finnbar
by Bronze Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:06 PM
1 mom liked this
Around here, parents send epipens to school if their child has an allergy. They are kept in the nurses office, labeled with the child's name.
I think schools should keep emergency back up pens
canadianmom1974
by Gold Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:12 PM
1 mom liked this
Here kids keep their epi pens on their person. In a purse, backpack, fanny pack, whatever, it is with them at all times at school. In the office, in the nurses office (which we don't have here) may be too far away. All staff, from admin to custodial, are trained to use them (as well as in asthma, seizures, and diabetes).
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mommy2boys03
by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:21 PM
6 moms liked this

I think this law actually makes sense.  Someone could have an allegic reaction when they have never had an issue before.  In the long run it could save a life.

LaughCryLive
by Silver Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:24 PM
1 mom liked this
I think this is a great idea. I had anaphylaxis to something I had eaten many times and never had a reaction before so I did not have an Epi pen.
lga1965
by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:28 PM
1 mom liked this

 This is good.

coolmommy2x
by Silver Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:28 PM
1 mom liked this
This should make a lot of parents happy and hopefully ease some worry.
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Oddy_Knocky
by on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:29 PM
1 mom liked this
Awesome idea. Epi pens should be kept with the child at all times. Locked up in the nurses office could mean death.
Donna6503
by Platinum Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:30 PM
1 mom liked this
This is a good thing
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Susan0805
by Silver Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM
I would think a child with an allergy would have the pen assessible and why wouldn't it be doctor prescribed? I guess I don't understand the need to "stockpile", the nurse should have them available yes; but don't they have expiration dates? Sure technically you can use it past the expiration date but it may not be as effective.
katzmeow726
by Platinum Member on Nov. 13, 2013 at 10:43 PM
1 mom liked this

I like the idea of emergency back up pens...not everyone knows that they have an allergy.  Those minutes it would take emergency services to get to a school to give the child a dose could be the difference between life and death.  Anaphlaxis is scary...I have to carry an epi pen for that reason. The few minutes it took to get me to the hospital were torture, so I would be glad that they would have fast access to spare epi pens. 

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