The Edmond Sun

September 4, 2013

Oklahoma joins 19 other states in allowing EpiPens in schools

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — In 2013, Oklahoma, Florida and Tennessee joined 13 other states passing laws that will enable schools to keep a supply of epinephrine auto-injectors on hand that hasn’t been prescribed to a specific student in their schools who has a severe allergic reaction. The other states include Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

The Nevada legislation goes a step further, “requiring” schools to have epinephrine on hand in case of emergency.

To date, more than 20 states have passed epinephrine laws or guidelines and several more are considering bills that would allow schools to keep auto-injectors on hand in case of an emergency.

Shawn Rogers, director with the Oklahoma State Health Department, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Emergency Medical Services Division, said Oklahoma has no law related to lay persons being trained and certified to carry and administer epinephrine via an auto-injector to someone under their care.

In the Edmond Public Schools District, individual Edmond schools train people on their staffs to be able to administer the shot.

“In the Edmond schools, policy is students who need an EpiPen are on a medical plan specifying the need for it,” said Susan Parks-Schlepp, public information officer. “Parents supply the EpiPen and staff is trained appropriately.”

Deer Creek Public Schools District’s current policy allows students to carry their own EpiPen with them on their person after their physician signs an order to do so, said Carol Ashby, RN, district nurse.

“Most students keep a back-up EpiPen in the clinic that can be used if necessary,” Ashby said. “EpiPen would be administered by the student if possible. If not, a trained employee of Deer Creek would administer the EpiPen and then call 911.”

Ashby went on to say the district plan is to look at the current policy and update the policy in alignment with the new House bill.

When a child has food allergies, anticipating the coming school year becomes more nerve-racking, said Angel Waldren with the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America.   

Until every school has the medication on site, a parent can take steps before the bell rings to ensure that everyone is prepared to prevent problems and handle emergencies, Waldren said. Sources with the AAFA tell parents to become familiar with their state’s policies regarding food allergy education, prevention and emergency care at school. Look for state summaries on AAFA’s new report, the 2013 State Honor Roll of Asthma and Allergy Policies for Schools, and see the special article, “Where Does Your School Stand on Stocking Epinephrine?” at www.StateHonorRoll.org.