Brown Signs Bills Increasing Access to EpiPens, Overdose Drug
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has signed into law two bills that will require California school districts to stock emergency epinephrine auto-injectors, or EpiPens, and will increase the availability of naloxone -- a drug that commonly is used to reverse respiratory depression caused by overdosing on painkillers.
Details of SB 1266
One bill (SB 1266), by Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), will require school districts next year to stock EpiPens so that trained personnel are able to provide emergency care to individuals suffering from a severe allergic reaction.
The California Teachers Association, California School Employees Association and California Federation of Teachers opposed the measure (California Healthline, 5/27).
Huff in a statement after the bill was signed said, "SB 1266 will help save lives by ensuring emergency medication is available at schools, especially helping students who don't know they have an allergy."
According to Food Allergy Research & Education, a sponsor of the bill, about two students in every U.S. classroom have been diagnosed with dangerous allergies (Central Valley Business Times, 9/16).
Details of AB 1535
AB 1535, by Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), will make naloxone available without a prescription at pharmacies across the state to help treat opiate overdoses.
The drug, which is available as a nasal spray or injectable medication, has been used for decades by emergency department physicians and paramedics (California Healthline, 9/3). The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, will allow pharmacists to give the medication directly to drug users or their family members.
California's pharmacy and medical boards will develop guidelines for when and how to dispense the drug. In addition, the law mandates training and education for both pharmacists and consumers.
Bloom said the law "will have a real and immediate impact on reducing overdose deaths in California and will empower families throughout the state to access this life-saving drug" (Aguilera, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.