Thursday, February 17, 2011

N.J. Senate passes bill allowing over-the-counter sale of syringes

N.J. Senate passes bill allowing over-the-counter sale of syringes

TRENTON — The state Senate today approved a bill that would permit over-the-counter sales of syringes — a move aimed at slowing the spread of HIV among intravenous drug users. By a 28-12 vote, the Senate supported the bill allowing pharmacies to sell up to 10 syringes to adults without a prescription, according to the bill, (S958). Adults holding a prescription could buy more than 10.

Pharmacies must present written information in both English and Spanish about how purchasers can dispose of the used needles as well as contact information for addiction-treatment services.
About 40 percent of 74,000 HIV/AIDS cases reported in New Jersey were caused by addicts sharing dirty needles or people having sex with infected IV drug users, according to state records.“Allowing for over-the-counter sales of syringes will save New Jersey money by allowing those at risk for HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C to use their own money to protect their own health,'' said Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Jersey. The bill would help diabetics, too, who may have difficulty getting needles to inject insulin, Scotti said.The bill needs to pass the Assembly before it reaches the governor, who will decide whether to sign it into law.The bill is sponsored by Sens. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Nicholas Scutari (D-Union).
Previous coverage:
N.J. Senate panel passes bill allowing over-the-counter sale of syringes to combat HIV, hepatitis

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