Earlier this month, the Illinois State Board of Education released data on the use of undesignated or “stock” epinephrine (i.e. epinephrine not prescribed for a specific child) in Illinois schools for the 2014-2015 school year.
Illinois school districts, public schools, and nonpublic schools are allowed to maintain a supply of undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors and have trained personnel to recognize and respond to anaphylaxis of any person that the staff member believes is having an anaphylactic reaction.
Illinois law requires that any school that uses stock epinephrine must report that usage to the state within three days of the incident. A bill strongly advocated by FARE, awaiting the governor’s signature, would expand that reporting requirement to include any school that chooses to stock undesignated epinephrine, even if it is not administered.
The new report confirms that the availability of stock epinephrine has been critical to the health and well-being of students with unknown allergies and also to the vulnerable teenage population. Among the findings:
- Seventeen districts representing 59 public schools reported 65 administrations of undesignated epinephrine.
- The city of Chicago Public School District 299 (comprising 20 percent of statewide students) reported the greatest number of administrations (63.1 percent) while Waukegan School District 60 had the second greatest number of administrations (6.1 percent).
- Six school districts reported more than 1 undesignated epinephrine administration while six individual schools reported at least 2 administrations.
- The most frequent ages of the persons receiving a dose of epinephrine were 15 and 16.
- Among the students and staff members who received epinephrine, 27 (41.5 percent) had a previously-known diagnosis of a severe allergy, while 38 (58.5 percent) were not previously diagnosed with a severe allergy.
- In more than a quarter (28 percent) of epinephrine administrations in which there was a previously known allergy and a food-related trigger, the specific trigger was identified as peanut or a “peanut-related food” (the highest percentage category).
- Out of 65 individuals receiving epinephrine, eight reported having multiple triggers and one reported having two different categories of triggers.
To date, 49 states have laws or guidelines allowing or requiring undesignated epinephrine in schools, but not every school is participating.
Learn more about how to advocate for stock epinephrine in your school by downloading FARE’s “Advocating for Epinephrine in Your School” toolkit.