BILL REQUIRING EPINEPHRINE TO BE STOCKED IN ARIZONA PUBLIC SCHOOLS IS INTRODUCED
PHOENIX, ARIZ. (Feb. 6, 2013) – The Arizona Food Allergy Alliance (AFAA) applauds Senators Linda Lopez, David Bradley, Leah Landrum Taylor; Judy Burges, Jack Jackson Jr., Al Melvin and Kelli Ward, as well as Representatives Doris Goodale, Phil Lovas and Ethan Orr for crossing party aisles to save the lives of Arizona school children through their introduction of SB 1421. The bill says that public schools in Arizona shall stock epinephrine auto-injectors to be administered in the event of a life-threatening allergic reaction to foods and insect stings.
“We are so appreciative of the legislators for introducing this bill that is going to help save lives,” said Lisa Horne, president and founder of the Arizona Food Allergy Alliance. “It will help schools plan and prepare for unexpected life-threatening reactions, which every day are becoming more common place.”
In a study by Pediatrics 22 percent of the individuals who were treated with epinephrine at a school district in Massachusetts did not know they were allergic. This included a number of faculty with adult onset allergies and related anaphylaxis.
“Furthermore there is currently no law in place to support schools with stocking epinephrine auto-injectors for unexpected life-threatening allergic reaction,” said Lisa Horne. “This leaves both schools and students vulnerable to the potential of a preventable tragic situation on school campuses that could even end in the death, as was the case in Virginia last year when a first-grader died at school from an allergic reaction to a peanut.”
As a result of that death, stock epinephrine legislation was introduced and last year signed into law in Virginia. It has already saved three young lives in the state. Among them a boy who had an allergic reaction to a bee sting while on the school bus. The school health services coordinator grabbed the stocked epinephrine auto injector and darted to the boys aid after being alerted via radio. The school intervened long before the ambulance could arrive.
SB 1421 is simple. It allows trained adult staff to administer epinephrine on behalf of any student who experiences anaphylaxis which is a life-threatening allergic reaction while at school. School employees will be trained in the recognition of anaphylaxis as well as administration of an epinephrine auto-injector. While very simple to administer, with no to little chance of complications, the bill language includes a ‘good Samaritan clause’ protecting people from civil liability for administering the auto-injector.
The AFAA and its members have been serving as a resource to a working group of legislators, health care providers, and school boards who have introduced SB 1421. The AFAA has been collaborating on the bill language and providing pertinent information, including details about programs that provide epinephrine auto-injectors at no cost to schools.
“One child is one too many when it comes to preventable death or injury,” said Lisa Horne. “We are hopeful that other policy makers support SB 1421 in the coming months.” Learn more by visiting www.arizonafoodallergy.com.