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EpiPen bill nears passage in Virginia

Wednesday - 4/11/2012, 11:49am  ET

Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Months after the death of a 7-year-old Chesterfield County girl who suffered an anaphylactic attack after a fellow student gave her peanuts at recess, Virginia is closing in on a law that would require schools to maintain epinephrine pens.

The movement is being applauded by allergy advocacy groups.

"Whether the student had a known allergy or not, this stock of auto-inject epinephrine would allow key personnel to administer lifesaving medication," says Thanita Glancey, Chairperson for the Loudoun Allergy Network.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has offered recommendations to state House and Senate lawmakers crafting the bills. Students with diagnosed allergies are currently allowed to have EpiPens, but the new law would allow designated school personnel to administer the medicine to any student showing symptoms.

The new legislation also would allow a school to be held harmless for administering the drug.

"It is held on the side of the thigh for about 10 seconds, to release all the medication," says Glancey.

While Glancey says her daughter reported discomfort at the injection site after the pen was used, she said the medication made her feel better quickly.

The legislation will be called Amarria's Law, in honor of Amarria Johnson, who died Jan. 2.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)