Changing Epinephrine Laws
Epinephrine Auto-Injector Laws are Changing
I think we can all agree that the use of an epinephrine auto-injector is relatively simple and can truly save the life of someone having a severe allergic reaction. State and federal lawmakers are starting to agree as well.
Laws are changing and that may impact how you’re preparing lay rescuers to respond to a severe allergic reaction and who can use an epinephrine auto-injector.
Here are some examples of new regulations that affect how epinephrine auto-injectors are used:
New California epinephrine regulations are taking effect January 1, 2016: "Certification from an approved training program will allow a layperson or off-duty EMS personnel to obtain a prescription for and administer an epinephrine auto-injector to a person experiencing anaphylaxis, with civil liability protection, when acting in good faith and not for compensation."
Another new regulation signed into law this year allows school districts in Ohio to stock epinephrine for anyone who might need it. Two children have already been saved by school staff members who were trained and had access to epinephrine auto-injectors because of the new law.
On November 1st, 2015, a new law went into effect allowing any organization to start storing auto-injectors in a secure box, which can be used by a Good Samaritan.
New Jersey passed an initiative allowing the use of epinephrine auto-injectors for school-aged children, then recently expanded it to include students at colleges and universities.
A group of U.S. Senators recently proposed new legislation that would require commercial airlines to have at least one adult dosage and one child dosage of epinephrine auto-injectors onboard.
What’s the bottom line?
Emergency response training isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution, especially when we are talking about medication administration. Local and state requirements may trump the latest rescue science.
While the laws are catching up, rescuers may need to make a moral or ethical decision about the use of an epinephrine auto-injector.
As instructors, we need to remind students to call 9-1-1 so the dispatcher can assume medical control. We also need to be responsible enough to prepare rescuers with the local requirements and latest treatment recommendations so that they can make an informed decision about how to obtain, stock or use an epinephrine auto-injector.