Idaho is about to have one of the most expansive "stock epinephrine" laws in the country. It was the advocacy efforts of a determined support group leader and others who made it happen.
Starla Higdon is the leader of the Treasure Valley Food Allergy Network (an AAFA-affiliated support group) and a longtime KFA community member.
Stock epinephrine laws allow trained people to give epinephrine to anyone experiencing a severe allergic reaction, or anaphylaxis. The laws allow certain public places and businesses (such as restaurants, amusement parks, theaters, camps, etc.) to have the auto-injectors on hand in case of allergy emergencies.
The Idaho law is a bit different, though. The law allows pharmacists to prescribe epinephrine (as a doctor does) directly to people at risk for anaphylaxis. Pharmacists can also prescribe it to those who may care for, or have contact with, people at risk for severe reactions.
Organizations looking to stock epinephrine must go through a training program to be able to recognize and treat anaphylaxis.
Starla is a pharmacist, currently home with her 10-year-old son, Mitchell, who is allergic to eggs and barley. Starla said Idaho law already authorizes pharmacists to dispense certain prescriptions directly (fluoride supplements, antidotes for drug overdoses and vaccinations).
Starla’s professional background allowed her to work with lawmakers and the Idaho Board of Pharmacy to get the bill passed.
Both houses of the Idaho legislature unanimously passed the bill. It now heads to the governor’s desk for signing.
“This bill has been in the works ever since we passed the school bill in 2014,” said Starla.
She said after her state passed the school stock epi law, a doctor who ran a summer camp wanted to know if the camp could have auto-injectors on hand. But without a broader stock epinephrine law, it couldn’t.
Idaho will become the 21st state with a public stock epi law.
“Being a part of the political process can be pretty frustrating at times,” said Starla. “But when you actually realize, ‘we did it!’ after a law is passed, and you recognize that lives can be saved, it’s very rewarding!”
Idaho’s new law will take effect by summer 2016.