Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Chronic diseases account for 70% of all deaths in the U.S. and cause major limitations in daily living for almost 1 out of 10 Americans or about 25 million people. Chronic diseases are often related to modifiable health risk behaviors that include lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption.
Governments at all levels are increasingly using law in novel ways to prevent chronic diseases, changing the environment to help people make healthy choices and avoid unhealthy behaviors that contribute to chronic disease. Legal strategies can help to support environmental changes to improve health.
Find more information on the Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website.
George A. Mensah, et al., Law as a tool for preventing chronic diseases: expanding the spectrum of effective public health strategies [PDF-354KB], Preventing Chronic Disease. 2004 Apr. Article discussing the important roles that laws have played in public health.
- Asthmatic School-children's Treatment and Health Management Act of 2004 [PDF-127KB] (2004). Gives preference to States that require schools to allow students to self-administer medication to treat a student's asthma and for other purposes.
- Alabama Education Code 16-1-39 (2004). Alabama code authorizing self-administration of asthma medication by students with written parental authorization, and written authorization from physician.
- California Education Code § 49422-49427. California code allows for pupils to carry and self-administer medication by providing written statements from both physician and parent.
- Florida Education Code § 1002.20 (h) (2002). Florida code allows for pupils to carry and self-administer medication by providing written statements from both physician and parent.
- Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 20–2-774 (2008). A Georgia statute authorizing students to self-administer asthma medication, pursuant to local adopted school policies.
- 105 Illinois Comp Stat § 5/22–30 [PDF-209KB] (2003). Illinois code that permits students with asthma to self-administer asthma medication in school with written authorization provided by both physician and parent.
- Kentucky Rev Stat Ann § 158–834–158.836 [PDF-7KB] (Michie 2002). Allows a student to possess and administer asthma medication with written authorization from the student's health provider. A copy of a signed waiver from the guardian acknowledging that the school will not be held liable in any claims relating to the self-administration of medicines to treatment asthma or asthma related illnesses must be furnished to the school.
- Maine 2003 Me Laws 531. Allows students to possess inhalers and self-administer asthma medication with written verification provided by both physician and parent.
- Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71, § 54B. Mandates that the department of public health shall disseminate regulations concerning the administration of prescription medications, and allows students with asthma and other respiratory diseases to possess and self-administer prescription medication in accordance with the department of public health regulations.
- Michigan Comp Laws Ann 380.1179 (West 2002). Permits school children to carry inhalers and self-administer medication if they suffer from asthma, providing written approval from a physician and parent is given to the school.
- Minnesota Statute § 121A.22–121A.221 (2002). Allows pupils to possess and self-administer prescribed asthma medication if school personnel has received written authorization from the pupil's parent permitting the student to self-administer and the inhaler is properly labeled.
- Mississippi Code Ann § 41-79-31 (2004). Permits self-administration of a prescribed medication by a student school personnel have been provided with written authorization from the parent and the student's health practitioner.
- Missouri Rev Stat § 167.627 (West 2002). Allows school board to permit students to self-carry and self-administer if they suffer from asthma or other potentially life threatening respiratory conditions. A written approval from physician and parent is required.
- New Jersey Stat Ann § 18A:40–12.3 (West 2002). Requires education boards to develop policies for the self-administration of asthma medication through the use of an inhaler while at school. Written consent from the attending physician and parent is required.
- New Mexico § 22-5-4.3 [PDF-31KB]. Allows students to carry and self-administer asthma medication and emergency anaphylaxis medication.
- New York Educ Law § 916 (McKinney 2002). Permits students to carry and use prescribed asthma inhaler during the school with written permission from health care provider and parent.
- Ohio Rev Code Ann § 3313.716 (2004). Provides guidelines and conditions for students' to possess and use asthma inhalers while in school. Requires written permission from health care provider and parent are required. Provide school employees immunity from liability for damages in a civil action for injury, death, or loss to person or property if all conditions have been satisfied.
- Oklahoma § 70-1-116.3. (2004). Provides guidelines and conditions for students' to possess and use asthma inhalers while in school. Requires written permission from health care provider and parent are required. Provide school employees immunity from liability for damages in a civil action for injury, death, or loss to person or property if all conditions have been satisfied.
- Oregon Administrative Rules § 581-021-0037 [PDF-189KB] (1999). Instructs school districts to develop guidelines for self-medication of prescribed or non-prescribed medication by a student with written permission from a parent and instructions from a physician.
- Pennsylvania HB § 1113 [PDF-149KB] (2003). Directs school districts to develop policies for self-administration and possession of certain asthma medications by students.
- Rhode Island § 18.0 Rules and Regulations for School Health [PDF-386KB]. Requires public schools to establish procedures for permitting students to self-carry and self-administer prescribed medication during school and at school functions off site with written authorization by parent.
- Tennessee Pub. Act 493 [PDF-24KB] (2004). Permits self-administration of asthma medication and possession of asthma reliever inhalers at schools with parent written consent and specific instructions regarding the prescribed medication.
- Virginia General Assembly § 22.1-274.2 [PDF-17KB] (2000). Requires school board to establish and develop policies allowing students with asthma to possess and self-administer inhaler medication during the school day and at school sponsored events with written consent from parent and primary care physician.
- Wisconsin Statute § 118.291. Permits students with asthma to carry and use asthma medication and inhaler in school and at school sponsored activities with written permission for a parent and physician and given to the principal.
Disclaimer: Information available on this website that was not developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not necessarily represent any CDC policy, position, or endorsement of that information or of its sources. The information contained on this website is not legal advice; if you have questions about a specific law or its application you should consult your legal counsel.