ATLANTA – Responding to an increasing number of individuals with allergies, particularly food allergies, and the need for immediate treatment during severe allergic reactions, the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has designated certain organizations eligible to stock and administer auto-injectable epinephrine. These organizations are in addition to public and private schools which already are legally authorized to maintain a supply of epinephrine for emergency treatment of allergic reactions.
Many people who need epinephrine may not have any known history of allergy to food, bee stings, latex, or other allergens. As a result, they would not have a prescription of their own for epinephrine making the need for undesignated auto-injectable epinephrine critical.
“For an individual experiencing anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction, it is crucial they receive treatment immediately,” said Patrick O’Neal, M.D., director of Health Protection, Georgia Department of Public Health. “Without an injection of epinephrine, a patient might stop breathing or their heart could stop beating before EMS arrives or before the patient reaches a hospital emergency department.”
In 2013, the Georgia General Assembly authorized public and private schools to acquire and stock a supply of auto-injectable epinephrine, and to authorize trained lay personnel to administer epinephrine to students experiencing an anaphylactic reaction. (GA Code Section 20-2-776.2) In 2015, the legislature authorized DPH to expand that legislation to include private entities such as restaurants, entertainment venues, corporate offices, churches, and shopping malls. (GA Code Section 31-1-15)
Organizations wishing to acquire, stock and administer auto-injectable epinephrine must register with DPH. Each organization is responsible for assigning individuals to administer emergency epinephrine and for coordinating the training of those individuals. To encourage schools and organizations to take advantage of the law, individuals who choose in good faith to administer or not to administer epinephrine are granted immunity from civil liability.
For more information about registering an organization or a complete list of organizations eligible to stock and administer auto-injectable epinephrine, click here.