State lawmakers pushing for EpiPens in schools

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The death of a 7-year-old girl from a peanut allergy has triggered a move by two state lawmakers to put EpiPens in schools for emergencies.

Legislation is being drafted this week for consideration this General Assembly session. Last week, we told you about a similar effort at the national level.

Virginia Delegates Peter Farrell and John O'Bannon want EpiPens available to students who don't have prescriptions but may need them at a moments notice.

One Henrico mom said it would put many parents' minds at ease.

Sara Kamencik's 11-year-old son, Chase, is deathly allergic to quite a few foods.

"He's allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and then sesame," said Kamencik.

The fifth grader has an EpiPen prescription and a plan in place at his elementary school to use it.

Sara believes other children, who may not know whether they have food allergies, should have the same access to the life saving medication.

"By having an EpiPen as a stock EpiPen then, hopefully, it will prevent another tragedy," said Kamencik.

Sara reached out to Delegate Farrell after last week's death of 7-year-old Amarria Johnson.

The first grader went into cardiac arrest after eating a peanut during recess at Hopkins Elementary school. Farrell said he's heard from quite a few other moms too.

"Pretty immediately last week, and to be made more aware of food allergies, a lot of mothers who have children, who have children with serious food allergies, who are concerned and would like to see some action from the legislature," said Del. Farrell.

Farrell is working with Delegate John O'Bannon, a doctor, to push for a state EpiPen law.

"We have protocols for giving insulin that work pretty well, but we have AED's where the only obligation is somebody has some training. Maybe the best place for these is right with the AEDs," said Del. O'Bannon.

The state of Illinois recently passed a law that allows schools to keep and administer a prescription for epinephrine that isn't student specific.

"We need to make sure it's in the proper place. If people need proper training, they receive proper training and it gets done quickly, so we can make sure this issue doesn't happen again," said Del. Farrell.

Farrell said he and O'Bannon will be researching other state's protocols for EpiPens.

A draft version should be finished by the end of this week.

Kamencik is co-leader of Richmond's Food Allergy Support Group.

You can find more information about that organization at

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