The DuPage County Sheriff's Office will soon be equipped with EpiPens in its squad cars and first-aid kits, thanks to a donation from the Annie LeGere Foundation amounting to $40,000.

What Is An EpiPen?

The EpiPen is an auto-injector that contains a shot of epinephrine, a synthetic form of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the natural substance our body releases under stress. The EpiPen is used when the victim is struggling for breath during emergencies related to allergic reactions called anaphylaxis.

It is the only first-line treatment recommended for anaphylaxis. When a shot of EpiPen is administered during a life-threatening allergic attack, it helps in the tightening of blood vessels, which eventually increases the blood pressure, relaxes the lung muscles to control wheezing, and thereby improves breathing. It also increases the heart rate and minimizes hives and inflammation that may occur on the lips and face.

Annie LeGere's Death Is The Motivation Behind The Initiative

Annie LeGere was a 13-year-old girl who died of severe allergic reaction in August 2015. Annie was at a friend's house when she had a sudden allergic attack. Her mother Shelly reached her side to find her lying on the kitchen floor, not breathing.

"She was without oxygen for too long and her brain had irreversible damage," said Shelly. An emergency injection of epinephrine, like from the ">EpiPen, could have saved Annie. Since the officers on duty at that time didn't have one, Annie lost her life.

Shortly after Annie's demise, her parents started the Annie LeGere Foundation. In honor of Annie, the foundation donated $40,000 to the DuPage County Sheriff's Office on Dec. 27, to provide the department with 92 pens for its squad cars and first-aid kits. Annie's parents wanted to help people suffering from severe allergic reactions and prevent them from dying by providing the life-saving drug.

DuPage County Sheriff's Office To Be First To Allow Officers To Administer Epinephrine

Generally, police officers are not allowed to administer epinephrine even if they are the ones that reach the victim first in case of emergency. But earlier this year, Illinois lawmakers passed a measure - the Annie LeGere Law - that allows police officers to carry and use EpiPens in times of emergency.

Starting Jan. 1, 2017, the DuPage County sheriff's office will be the state's first office to permit officers to administer the drug.

Col. Frank Bibbiano revealed that the distribution of injectors in the office will start around the middle of January. The program includes training police officers on using the device.

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