AUGUSTA— Rep. Justin Chenette is spearheading legislation to permit trained, non-medical school personnel to administer U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved seizure rescue medications to children who suffer from epilepsy.
“This will prevent the unnecessary deaths of children with epilepsy,” said Chenette, D-Saco. “Why are we allowing children to suffer when there is a FDA-approved, doctor-prescribed medication much like an epi-pen?”
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes people to have recurrent seizures.
According to the Epilepsy Foundation of New England, Kentucky, Tennessee, Connecticut and California already allow the delegation of rescue medications.
“We feel such legislation is necessary to assure parents that access to their child’s seizure rescue medication is always available. It would also clarify what appears too often to be inaccurate, confusing and contradictory interpretation of current laws and regulations pertaining to delegation of medication administration in Maine schools,” said Kristine Binette, field service coordinator of Maine for the Epilepsy Foundation of New England. “Unfortunately, there remains much stigma associated with epilepsy and many misconceptions about the administration of seizure rescue medications.”
Both the Epilepsy Foundation and Maine Health Allies, a coalition of statewide volunteer and non-profit health organizations, businesses, and individuals, working together on health care issues, support Chenette's bill.
Bills for the second session must win approval from the Legislative Council in order to receive consideration before the full Legislature. The Council will meet Oct. 22 to decide which bills will move forward.
Chenette, a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, is serving his second term in the Maine Legislature and represents part of Saco.