Medications at School

Breathe: It’s the Law!
In 2002, Allergy & Asthma Network held an Allergy & Asthma Day Capitol Hill briefing about the plight of schoolchildren whose asthma medications were locked in the clinic instead of by their side at all time as prescribed by their physicians. Tragically, each school year there were reports of students who did not receive medication in time. They died. The same was true of students with anaphylaxis and their access to prescribed epinephrine auto-injectors.

As a result of those hearings, members of Congress joined with Allergy & Asthma Network and advocates across the country to pass the Asthmatic Schoolchildren’s Treatment and Health Management Act of 2004 (first introduced in the House of Representatives in 2003 as HR2023). Signed into law in October 2004, this groundbreaking legislation gave funding preference to states that protect student’s rights to carry and self-administer asthma and anaphylaxis medications at school.

Today, all 50 states have laws protecting students’ rights to carry and use prescribed asthma and anaphylaxis medications.

The Breathe: It’s the Law campaign was sponsored by Mylan Specialty L.P.

Spread the Word!
Allergy & Asthma Network’s Breathe: It’s the Law awareness campaign doesn’t stop once these laws are on the books. Parents, teachers, school nurses — contact local schools and make sure they know these laws exist and what they mean.

We’re grateful to legislators for helping us get these laws passed — now it’s time to save lives! Here are some Frequently Asked Questions to share with your child’s teachers, school nurse, physical education teacher and coaches. 

Q. What is Breathe: It’s the Law?
A. A campaign to make sure students in EVERY state can carry and self-administer their life-saving asthma and anaphylaxis medications. Allergy & Asthma Network spearheaded this campaign with support from volunteers and legislators in every state.

Q. Why is it important?
A. Every school year students have died because they were unable to get to their asthma or anaphylaxis medications on time. The medications were locked in a nurse’s cabinet or stowed away in a place too far to get to when the student needed them. Minutes count when asthma or anaphylaxis strikes. Students need to carry these medications on them, know when and how to use them — and then do it!

Q. Do we have these laws in every state?
A. In 2010, we celebrated that all 50 states protect students’ rights to carry and self-administer asthma medications, and in 2014 New York became the 50th state giving students the right to carry and use their anaphylaxis medications. This final step was 11 years in the making, as shown in the 2012 map below. To read the laws in your state, consult the Related Information directory on the righthand panel of this web page.