North Carolina lawmakers are debating whether to require schools to keep epinephrine auto-injectors on hand to treat severe allergic reactions.
Under the proposed bill, public schools would not only be allowed to keep EpiPens on hand to treat any student suffering from a potentially life-threatening reaction (regardless of whether that particular student has a prescription for the medication), but would in fact be required to do so.
The bill would require all schools to have at least two epinephrine pens in the building, as well as personnel trained to administer them.
Many First Reactions Happen at School
Research has shown that many children experience their first allergic reaction while at school. Many states have recently passed laws concerning how to treat students who have no known allergy, yet appear to be suffering from anaphylaxis, or a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.
In some states, epinephrine can only be administered to students who have a prescription for the medication. Students with no known allergies are not likely to have such a prescription, creating a legal barrier for school personnel to treat these students. If the bill passes, North Carolina will join a growing number of states where school personnel can administer epinephrine to any student who appears to be experiencing an allergic reaction.