TRENTON – Senator Shirley K. Turner welcomed final legislative approval for her legislation that would expand the list of those individuals authorized to administer emergency epinephrine at a school to include more school personnel and the allergic students themselves as it passed the Assembly today.
“When an allergic reaction can go from manageable to disastrous in a matter of minutes, the timely administration of epinephrine can be the difference between life and death,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “It makes no sense to prevent children who face the threat of anaphylactic shock every day from using an ‘epi-pen’ when necessary.”
Senator Turner’s bill, S-79, would clarify the current state law governing the administration of epinephrine to treat severe allergic reactions. The bill includes a provision that would require school nurses to recruit and train adult faculty to serve as designees to administer emergency epinephrine to students should the school nurse be unavailable. Additionally in the absence of the school nurse or designee, students would be permitted to self administer the epinephrine.
“It’s clear that we should train as many school personnel as possible on the proper ways to react to medical emergencies like severe allergies,” added Senator Turner. “Good training can help staff to act quickly and calmly to help the student and minimize the danger of the allergic reaction.”
The bill also requires that epinephrine be available in a secure, unlocked and easily accessible location. The epinephrine used to counter allergic reactions are contained in devices commonly known as “epi-pens”, auto-injectors used to quickly administer the drug 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.
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.
The bill passed the Assembly by a vote of 80-0. It now goes to Governor’s desk for his signature.