Schools Limit Asthma Drug Access 

Schools Limit Asthma Drug Access 
Posted by FoM on May 08, 2000 at 07:37:01 PT
By Jim Ritter, Health Reporter 
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Asthma inhalers provide quick relief for wheezing attacks, but two recent surveys found most asthmatic schoolchildren don't carry the emergency medicine.A survey of Chicago public school nurses found only 30 percent of asthmatic students have access to inhalers, even though school policy allows kids to carry them.
A second survey of 82 public and private schools throughout Cook County found that only 36 percent of children carry inhalers. The two surveys found that inhalers usually are kept with school nurses or principals.An inhaler delivers a precise drug dose. The child places the device in front of the lips or in the mouth, presses the inhaler and breathes deeply. Inhalers deliver bronchodilators, which relieve wheezing within minutes, or corticosteroids, which help prevent attacks.Many schools fear they could be liable if students misuse inhalers. Some special education students aren't competent to use the devices. Other kids could take too many puffs, causing side effects such as rapid heartbeat. Students also could misplace or lose inhalers, or fail to refill them. Moreover, some kids improperly share inhalers or squirt them at other kids' eyes."We have better control," said nurse Pat Rielly of Schaumburg District 54, which keeps a child's inhaler in the nurse's office unless a doctor requests the child carry it.But the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago, which conducted the Cook County schools survey, said students should have "unobstructed access" to inhalers, provided they have permission from their parents and doctors."When the medicine is locked up in the principal's or nurse's office, they don't have immediate access," said Ron Burke of the Lung Association. "When an emergency does arise, you run the risk of an attack escalating if you don't have medicine."Dr. Alan Resnick, an asthma specialist who practices in the city and suburbs, said that when one of his patients recently had an attack at school, the inhaler was locked in the nurse's office and the nurse was at another school. The student's mother had to leave work to bring an inhaler."It would have been a lot easier for the child to carry the medicine," Resnick said.A Chicago Public Schools policy passed in 1997 allows students to carry inhalers in their pockets, bookbag or purse if they have a doctor's order to do so. But a survey of 118 school nurses by Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago found only three of 10 students had access to inhalers.Brittany Anderson, a sixth-grader at a public charter school on the South Side, said a teacher discouraged her from using her inhaler. So Brittany uses the inhaler in the bathroom, or sneaks a puff behind a piece of paper, her mother said.The district is working to educate teachers and principals about the inhaler policy, said Myrna Garcia, director of student health services. Garcia said she has received no complaints from parents."We've never had a problem with a child who wanted to carry [an inhaler] and couldn't," she said.Catholic schools generally require that inhalers be kept in the nurse's or principal's office. Because most schools are small, a student who's having an attack can get to the office quickly, a spokeswoman said. A few principals allow students to carry inhalers in fanny packs.Published: May 8, 2000Copyright 2000, Digital Chicago Inc. CannabisNews Articles On Drugs & School:
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Comment #7 posted by MMMM on May 08, 2000 at 23:42:50 PT
Why aren't parents of asthmatic children beating on the doors of our representatives? They're taking medication away from sick kids and they're taking medical marijuana away from adults. This is so disgusting I can't even describe the revulsion I feel when I read reports like this. I can see why people would fear standing up for MMJ because it's illegal, but parents of sick kids have no excuse. What kind of government allows this? A very sick one. 
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Comment #6 posted by CongressmanSuet on May 08, 2000 at 23:00:13 PT
Kap, its not so much the tacycardia and arythmia 
that kill you. Long term usage of corticosteriods leads to a condition called "Cushing's Syndrome" where a person develops some pretty bizzare characteristics. Severely bent back, striae[big red streaks] on the face, severe swelling of the face, this is some gruesome stuff. I have had moderate COPD [chronic ubstructive pulmonary disease] for the last 5 years, a result of my addiction to tobacco of 27 years. I am very dependant on the inhalers I carry at all times. I know that instant relief can be found in an inhaler. But, I have long known that at key times, one single inhalation of the Devil' Weed is MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE than anything I have prescribed for me.Both drugs [albuterol, dexamethasone, etc. inhalers and Cannabis] provide relief in different ways. Cannabis has a greater effect in the actual expectoration of irritative material. The inhalers do not provide the same relief, but they do help, and they are legal. Its not always that easy to whip out a joint and take a puff when you all of a sudden need to in the mall...I have found that if a person with a asthma/COPD problem learns about the helpfullness of Cannabis and tries it, they usually become staunch supporters. And the true irony here. The narco-warriers are trying to keep us from getting high, silly, weird in public, bizzare, puffing enormous joints on the street corner...but, as I and millions of others have found, in the course of time, the amount of Cannabis that gives the most effective relief for respiratory problems is not enough to be psychoactive. One puff. If you want to go on, fine, the brohcholdilation effect will be good, but one puff will serve the same purpose. I do look forward to the day that a THC inhaler is marketed. Im not selling out, I just believe it will be an effective product. To get the relief I can get from taking a puff in the form of an inhaler that gives me no psychoactive effect, I mean, Im not the kind that wants to be stoned at 1 in the afternoon. While I relish the effects that cannabis has on the human psyche, I have found from experience that it truly is a great, safe , medicine....well, safe? Im not so sure, how safe is jail these days?
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Comment #5 posted by observer on May 08, 2000 at 16:23:39 PT
Public Schools
"To prevent children from being able to defend themselves from it by locking up their inhalers is tantamount to reckless endangerment."Yes, and it is par for the course. Grandstanding school "authorities" try to outdo themselves looking to be "tough" on "drugs" and to "send the right message". But it is increasingly obvious to many that these schools are little different from "detention camps". An interesting quote today by Joseph Farah, seems to relate:''Have you been in any urban public schools lately? They are not education facilities, they are detention camps. They are not places of learning, they are militarized daycare centers. They are not schools at all, but social conditioning facilities designed to produce slaves to the state. Whatever learning does take place takes place by accident or in spite of the obstacles.''-- Joseph Farah, 5/8/2000
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Comment #4 posted by MikeEEEEE on May 08, 2000 at 16:07:55 PT
This is your mind on stupidty
With all the drug commericals on TV whats wrong with an inhaler, have the drug warriors gone insane?
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on May 08, 2000 at 11:38:45 PT:
Asthma is no f-----g joke
My Dad has asthma. Has had it since his Marine days (that's why they let him out) and carries an inhaler with him constantly. The pain and terror it inflicts, particularly upon the young, is every bit as awful as CS describes. My father's life since acquiring this disease has become so circumscribed by it that he rarely leaves the house. To say it is a scourge is to beggar comparison. To prevent children from being able to defend themselves from it by locking up their inhalers is tantamount to reckless endangerment.Both CS and the O-man have respectively hit several nails squarely on their heads. We *are* talking about social control, and we *are* talking about a kind of thinly-veiled Darwinism (the sick kids should die, so they don't grow up to become a burden to the rest of us). That's what the concept of medical triage is all about. But the bit about cannabis being a more effective - and safe(!) - bronchodilator is the real height of irony; in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, cannabis was prescribed by doctors for exactly that reason. But today, asthma sufferers risk the deleterious effects of long term exposure to corticosteroids which can cause some pretty nasty side effects - such as killing you via tachycardia and arhythmia... just because cannabis is illegal.
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Comment #2 posted by observer on May 08, 2000 at 09:37:50 PT
We Have Better Control
a [government indoctrination/detention center warden] discouraged her from using her inhalerBut of course! With today's children school officials can't be too careful! Those inhalers contain drugs! Why, what kind of confusing messages would society be sending to the children if we allow them to use drugs -- in school for heavens sake -- whenever they feel like taking drugs? Better to let a few suffer, to protect the many from getting the wrong message.Dr. Alan Resnick, an asthma specialist who practices in the city and suburbs, said that when one of his patients recently had an attack at school, the inhalerwas locked in the nurse's office and the nurse was at another school. The student's mother had to leave work to bring an inhaler.What a wholesome message the other children received though! They learned that it is always right and proper to sacrifice a child or two, in order to send out the right message. And remember the words of Our Leader, the Czar: drug abuse is a dreadful "cancer", he says. So if a few children must suffer and die it is all worth it. The most noble end of a drug-free America is certainly worth any means used to achieve this end, no? And as healthy tissue must also be cut out from around a cancer, so may a few children (asthmatic children in this case) suffer; not to worry: it is for the greater good. Same goes for (fill in the blank): anything drug warriors say, any freedom we are asked to sacrifice, any adult we incarcerate is worth it, for Our Noble End certainly justifies any means of dealing with those who would defy us.Another Government indoctrination/detention center employee: "We have better control," said nurse Pat Rielly of Schaumburg District 54And isn't control really what this is all about? Wards of the state (i.e. the children) must learn to accept and obey orders from officials and authorities, and this is part of that indoctrination process. That's the message that our children need to hear: obey the authorities. Just follow orders. We order you to sacrifice yourself, to not send the wrong message to our children. 
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Comment #1 posted by CongressmanSuet on May 08, 2000 at 09:12:47 PT:
Heaven forbid....
 A child with respiratory problems be allowed to carry a non-psychotropic inhaler that provides immediate relief from one of the most horrifying afflictions a child can have, asthma. When you are having an attack, the idea of death crosses your mind, it is pretty intense. So, in the name of Zero Tolerance, lets make it just that much harder to get quick access for the afflicted kids, I mean, this isnt Prozac or Ritalin, it cant be given once a day, the kid needs to have 24hr access to it in order for it to be effective. Yes, there needs to be some self-determination in administration of dosage, and believe me, kids who need this to live comfortably learn pretty quickly how important it is, and joking around with the other kids, [spraying them for fun] generally doesnt happen. Funny, wait till they get alittle older and discover that Cannabis is about 2 times more effective as a bronchodilater than any commercially available product on the market.
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