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Life Saving and Liabilities

Guest Blogger 11/22/2016
Guest Blogger


Opioid overdoses and severe allergic reactions. Not necessarily two topics that come up together in conversation. Both of these are life-threatening emergencies for affected students – and now there is new legislation which gives schools greater ability to administer life-saving treatment. First, let’s examine a few facts about the prevalence of these concerns.

Opioid overdoses:

  • Drug overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with more than 47,000 deaths annually.
  • Opioid deaths are a major driver of this statistic, with more than 18,000 of these deaths related to opioid overdoses.
  • Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, has nearly quadrupled since 1999.

Severe Allergies:

  • Approximately 15 million Americans have food allergies.
  • 1 in 13 children have moderate to severe allergies (which is approximately 2 per classroom).
  • Food allergies in children have increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011.

What do these two issues have in common?

Both opioid overdoses and severe allergic reactions may be treated by the use of auto-injectors; naxolone hydrochloride injectors (Narcan) for opioid overdoses, and epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) for allergic reactions.

blog_school_nurseSchools have historically struggled to deal with the liabilities that arise from administering these life-savings treatments, and the California Legislature has attempted to address these liabilities in the past. However, previous legislative efforts left a number of liability considerations unclear.

In September 2016, Governor Brown signed two bills that go into effect on January 1, 2017, which more clearly address the liability issues. More importantly, the statutes now detail the steps that schools can take to limit this liability. AB 1386 addresses Epinephrine Auto-Injectors, and AB 1748 deals with Opioid Antagonists.

Keenan has published a Briefing that details these two new laws, and the requirements that schools should follow. To read more about this, you can download this Briefing at:




blog_bradAbout Brad Keenan
Brad Keenan is an Account Executive in the P&C Public Agency Division. He enjoys golfing with friends and making videos for Keenan.