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The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is expected to issue an updated Guidelines on Administration of Medication in August 2016, just in time for the 2016-2017 school year. The guidelines are expected to include updates to reflect recent changes in the law regarding the administration of medications in school, including asthma medication, epinephrine auto-injectors, and opioid antagonists.

We have heard from school districts regarding the possibility of maintaining a supply of and administering an undesignated opioid antidote in school. Last fall, Lali’s Law (Heroin Crisis Act, P.A. 99-0480, eff. Sept. 9, 2015) provided schools with the authority to authorize a school nurse or trained personnel to administer an opioid antagonist to any person that the school nurse or trained personnel in good faith believes is having an opioid overdose while in school, at a school-sponsored activity, under school personnel supervision, or during before-or-after school activities. The school nurse may carry the opioid antagonist on his/her person. Schools must maintain the undesignated supply in a secure location, and a prescription in the name of the school is required, whether the opioid antagonist is purchased by or provided free to the school. If an opioid antagonist is administered, the school must immediately activate its EMS system and notify the student’s parents, as well as notify the prescribing doctor within 24 hours. The school also must submit a report to ISBE within three days of the administration. In addition, mandated annual training (subject to specific requirements) is required prior to any individual’s administration of an opioid antagonist.

The ISBE Undesignated Opioid Antagonist Reporting Form is available on ISBE’s website (under “medications”). The ISBE form for reporting use of an undesignated epinephrine auto-injector also is available on that page.

On March 2, 2016, ISBE issued regulations on undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors and opioid antagonists. 23 Ill. Adm. Code 1.540. Pursuant to these new regulations, schools that maintain an undesignated supply of epinephrine auto-injectors and/or opioid antagonists must notify parents/guardians that the school has issued a standing protocol and that a student may be administered epinephrine and/or an opioid antagonist as permitted by law. This notification must include indemnification language and be provided at the start of each school year or at the time of enrollment for students enrolling for the first time, and the acknowledgement must be signed by parents/guardians and returned to the school. Parents/guardians who do not want their child to be administered epinephrine and/or an opioid antagonist under any circumstances may submit a written request to the school. The school then must provide the name of that student to the school nurse and any trained personnel.

The Illinois Association of School Boards is expected to update Policy 7:270, Administering Medicines to Students, and the corresponding administrative procedures to reflect these updates in the law. 

Please contact Bennett Rodick and Jennifer Mueller with your questions about administration of medication in schools.