Thousands of minors throughout North Carolina and across the nation live with serious medical conditions that require them to take regular doses of medication that help them function throughout the day. These students are so accustomed to taking the prescribed medications that they know by heart the proper dosages and times of day they must take each dose. However, in an age when prescription med overdoses are increasingly common, and when youth are dappling more and more in illicit drug use, schools feel a need to step in and regulate the administration of prescription medications. Many parents and students wonder, is it lawful for schools to do so?
According to FindLaw, there exist no federal laws that regulate the administration of prescription drugs to students in schools. As of right now, states have the right to set guidelines for how schools should proceed. Some states leave medication decisions up to individual jurisdictions. The only federal protections students have include the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals With Disabilities Act, both of which require schools to grant students with medical conditions “reasonable accommodations.”
Though state laws vary regarding the administration of general medications, every state has adopted laws that address the student use of allergy and asthma medications. States recognize that asthma and allergies often require immediate medical attention to prevent life-threatening consequences. Such recognition has resulted in states conceding to the self-administration of inhalers and epinephrine needles. However, most states require that students submit a doctor’s note verifying the existence of the student’s medical condition.
Several states let the school districts decide whether a student can self-administer medicine or not. Those state simply advise districts to base their decisions off a student’s age and maturity level, the wishes of each child’s parent and recommendations from a physician.
You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.