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New Jersey Pharmacy Needle Sales Bill Passes

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #712)
Politics & Advocacy

A bill that would allow for the sale of syringes in pharmacies without a prescription has cleared the New Jersey legislature with bipartisan support and awaits the governor's signature. The bill, Assembly Bill 1088, passed the Assembly Monday on a 54-24 vote; a companion measure passed the state Senate in February on a 28-12 vote.

The bill would allow for the purchase of 10 syringes without a prescription. (image via wikimedia.org)
An ever-growing body of evidence supports increased access to sterile syringes to reduce the spread of blood-borne diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. While New Jersey passed a law allowing for needle exchanges in 2006, the law capped their number at six.

The bill would allow for the purchase of up to 10 syringes without a prescription. It also decriminalizes the possession of needles bought from a pharmacy without a prescription.

New Jersey is one of only two states that still bans over-the-counter syringe sales. The other is neighboring Delaware.

The bill was sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Bergen), Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex), Assemblywoman Joan Voss (D-Bergen), Assemblywoman Cleopatra Tucker (D-Essex), Assemblywoman Joan Quigley (D-Bergen and Hudson) and Assemblyman Thomas Giblin (D-Essex and Passaic).

"This is a historic moment," said Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey state director for the Drug Policy Alliance.  "This is the first time the New Jersey legislature has voted to join the overwhelming majority of other states in allowing limited sales of syringes without a prescription. This legislation has overwhelming support from the medical and public health community. Governor Christie now has the opportunity to sign this legislation that will help end AIDS and save lives."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Comments

Common Sense (not verified)

Needles not being sold don't stem any drug traffic and they cause people to be extremely unsafe when they are using substances intravenously. I say bravo for reducing the amount of diseases that will be transmitted exponentially over the next few years!

Sun, 09/01/2013 - 7:22pm Permalink

Only two states have agreed on passing this bill for pharmacies to sell needles.  Other states should really look into this bill because many drug users do not use clean needles.  This is one of the ways they hurt themselves.  If they are going to do drugs, they will now hopefully have a clean needle to use.  This could decrease the number of people with HIV in the states who pass this bill.

Thu, 12/08/2011 - 4:44pm Permalink

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