Medications in Ohio Schools

Schools can directly impact a student's readiness to learn by having the tools to administer medication in the school setting. During school and school-sponsored activities, students may require medication for any of the following reasons: 
  • Chronic Conditions: Conditions lasting one year or more. Conditions such as asthma or diabetes can affect a student’s health during the school day affecting their ability to concentrate or participate in class activities. 
  • Acute Conditions:Temporary medication, such as an antibiotic for an infection, may be necessary during the day. 
  • Emergency Situations:Conditions that might require immediate medication, such as a rescue inhaler for asthma, epinephrine for food allergy, glucagon for a diabetic emergency or naloxone for an overdose. 

Prescription Medications 

Ohio law states the board of education of public schools and the governing authority of each chartered nonpublic school shall adopt a policy on the authority of its employees to administer medications to students. 
Only staff designated by the board or governing authority who are either licensed health professionals or who have completed a drug administration training program conducted by a licensed health professional are authorized to administer prescribed medications to a student at school.  
Ohio law on prescription drugs in the school setting includes the following elements:  
  • Required components of written prescribed medication requests (orders);  
  • Prescriptions must arrive at school in their original container; 
  • Where medications should be stored; and  
  • Who is permitted to administer prescription medications. 

Over-the-Counter Medications 

Over-the-counter medications are not included in Ohio law regarding prescription drug distribution; however, schools and districts can choose to administer over-the-counter medications to enable students to stay in class and reduce the burden on working parents.  
If a school or district decides to administer over-the-counter medications, the school or district should have a written policy that addresses the administration of over-the-counter medications. This policy should include whether parents need to be notified prior to administration. These policies may vary depending on the school or district and the age and grade of the student.   
  • Naloxone: Schools may incorporate naloxone into their emergency preparedness and response plan to avoid deaths related to an opioid overdose. Ohio law allows governmental agencies to have naloxone on the premises for use in emergency situations without a prescriber protocol. 

  • The NaloxoneOhio website provides a list of free naloxone mail order programs.  

Medication for Food Allergies, Diabetes and Asthma 

Ohio law provides schools and districts with the opportunity to support students with food allergies, diabetes and asthma by procuring epinephrine, glucagon and inhalers. Schools or districts procuring these medications must have a prescriber issued protocol. For further information on each of these medications and Ohio law see the webpages linked below: 

Medication Administration Training 

The Ohio Department of Health provides detailed train-the-trainer curriculums for school nurses to assist them in training staff on medication administration and use. These include: 

Last Modified: 4/26/2024 3:47:15 PM