Tomorrow the Senate Health Committee is scheduled to take up S958 sponsored by Senators Vitale, Weinberg, and Scutari. The bill will allow NJ pharmacies to sell hypodermic syringes and needles to persons over 18 years of age without a prescription. As Roseanne Scotti, Director, Drug Policy Alliance of NJ, points out, “New Jersey is one of only two states that completely ban such over-the-counter sale of syringes.”
About 40% of NJ HIV cases have been related to use of shared, contaminated needles. Such needles can also transmit Hepatitis C and other serious blood-borne illnesses. People use needles for a wide variety of reasons, including illegal drugs, diabetes, steroids, and sex change, and they all too frequently share needles placing themselves at considerable risk. Passage of this bill will make clean needles and syringes more easily accessible and decrease the transmission of blood-borne illnesses. The bill has been under discussion for years. It is time to pass it now.
The Senate Health Committee will also hold a public hearing tomorrow on SCR130 regarding the re-proposed medicinal marijuana regulations. The committee may decide to rescind these faulty regulations.