Turner: In An Emergency Situation, Every Second Counts

Bill Would Permit Students to Self-Administer ‘Epi-pens’

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that would clarify current law concerning the use of epi-pens, used to administer Epinephrine in emergency situations was unanimously approved today by the Senate Education Committee.

“In an emergency situation, every second counts, which is why students should be allowed to self administer epi-pens as needed,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer, who serves as Chair of the Senate Education panel. “Of course, proper training is necessary for these students, but the few seconds between the initial stages of an allergic reaction and the school nurse’s arrival could mean the difference between life and death for a student and that is not a chance I am willing to take.”

An epi-pen is an auto-injector used to quickly administer Epinephrine to a person suffering from Anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction caused by contact with certain foods, including shellfish and nut products, latex and certain medications.

Senator Turner’s bill, S-79, would clarify the current state law governing the administration of epi-pens, including a provision requiring school nurses to recruit and train adult faculty to serve as designees to administer the pen to students. However in the absence of the school nurse of designee, students would be permitted to self administer the pens. Classrooms containing students with serious allergies that might necessitate the use of Epinephrine would have to be equipped with a pen.

The bill would also require that students be transported to a hospital emergency room after having the pen administered. The Department of Education would be required to work with physicians to establish guidelines outlining procedures to reduce the potential for students being exposed to allergens.

This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.