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Gwen Smith: From the Editor's Desk

2013: From Tragedy to Allergy Accommodations

The other big news this year is the passing of several state “stock epinephrine” in the schools laws – there are now 28 such measures in place – as well as the federal U.S. “stock epi” bill. This New Year’s Eve, give a celebratory honk on your noisemaker to this achievement.

“Stock epinephrine” is the term for keeping an unprescribed epinephrine auto-injector on hand for use in an anaphylactic emergency. In the case of schools, this can arise when an allergic child doesn’t have an auto-injector immediately available or in a first-time severe reaction to a food or insect sting.

The federal law encourages states to adopt their own “stock epi” laws by giving preference for certain grants to states that have such a law in place. In a bi-partisan effort, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced the federal bill to the Senate after it was approved by the House of Representatives.

Stock epinephrine as a concept was born from a desire to protect allergic students at school, and it advances the idea of epinephrine as a safe emergency medication that anyone can help administer and that can save lives when anaphylaxis strikes.

Moving into 2014, I look forward to further advances in regarding auto-injectors as the next defibrillators. And this is happening. From the state stock epi laws to a pilot project in Hamilton, Canada, where restaurants will keep epinephrine on-hand for patrons, the world is getting a little safer and more allergy-conscious.

Looking back at the significant progress made in improving quality of life and safety for those living with food allergies or celiac disease, and looking ahead to the research in development to treat these conditions, it becomes clear: there is much to anticipate from 2014.