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State Senator

Matt Lesser

Representing Cromwell, Middletown, Newington, Rocky Hill and Wethersfield

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Sen. Lesser Joins Rep. Comey and fellow Legislators in Advocating for Expanded Epinephrine Access

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HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) joined state Representatives Robin Comey (D-Branford), Public Health Committee co-chair Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) and Quentin Phipps (D-Middletown) to advocate for expanded access to life-saving epinephrine to treat anaphylactic allergic reactions.

Senate Bill 706 (SB 706), “An Act Concerning Epinephrine Auto Injectors,” will make epinephrine devices and EpiPens available in public venues, camps, preschools and entertainment businesses. Sen. Lesser and Rep. Comey worked collaboratively on this legislation. Sen. Lesser and Rep. Comey said expanded access to epinephrine will save lives.

“We have an opportunity to ensure children and adults suffering from a life-threatening anaphylactic allergic reaction will have access to epinephrine and do not have to wait or hope they are close enough to a hospital in order to receive the care they need,” said Sen. Lesser. “Workplaces across Connecticut are not allowed to stock EpiPens and other epinephrine devices the way they are in other states. Senate Bill 706 will correct this problem and save lives. I commend the efforts of Rep. Robin Comey on this important issue and piece of legislation.”

“There is no cure for food allergies, but awareness and education can greatly contribute to managing the condition,” said Rep. Comey. “And if that fails, a timely injection of epinephrine to an individual suffering anaphylactic shock from a reaction could mean the difference between life and death. I am pleased to help educate others on this important issue and thank all the advocates and partners for their commitment and support.”

Keith Garbart, the Legislative Liason for the Connecticut Camping Association and the Camp Director at Winding Trails Summer Day Camp in Farmington, also supports this legislation and said as many as 200 out of the 650 campers who attend the Winding Trails Summer Day Camp each day have some type of allergy. He said passing this legislation will provide peace of mind to families that their children with known or unknown allergies will be safe.

“A lot of camps, like in our case, do not have access to stock epinephrine,” said Garbart. “This legislation would give us the opportunity to have that in our nursing stations and in those undiagnosed cases where someone gets stung by a bee and they did not know they were allergic. Having the ability to have a stock EpiPen is a great idea for camps.”

A recent study revealed that 32 million Americans are living with food allergies and 26 million of those affected are adults. Severe food allergies can be life-threatening and, according to the Food and Drug Administration, it is estimated that each year in the United States there are 30,000 emergency room visits, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 150 deaths due to anaphylaxis to food.

Currently 33 other states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation permitting public venues to maintain epinephrine auto injectors. SB 706 has received bipartisan support, advancing out of the Public Health Committee by a unanimous vote on March 8. It now awaits action by the state Senate.

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