January 12, 2012
The Legislature on Monday night approved a bill that would allow persons at least 18 years old to purchase syringes from pharmacies without a prescription. Gov. Chris Christie had conditionally vetoed the bill earlier in the day, commending efforts to prevent disease but citing his concern that minors might access syringes.
"While this legislation would remove unnecessary impediments for insulin-dependent diabetics and other individuals who use injectable medications, additional public safety measures are necessary to limit the distribution of needles and syringes used for non-medical purposes, and to discourage minors from buying them," said the governor's veto statement.
In response to Christie's concerns, the amended legislation requires that pharmacists be shown a photo ID or other proof that a buyer is not a minor. The revision also clarifies that criminal prosecutions for drug possession and distribution would not be hindered by the law.
The revised measure passed by votes of 22-9 in the Senate and 55-17 in the Assembly. The state Department of Health and Senior Services must provide pharmacists with information about drug treatment and syringe disposal, according to the conditional veto.
"We are thrilled," said Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance of New Jersey. "The changes are very workable and reasonable."
01.10.2012; Susan K. Livio
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