New Jersey Assembly Committee Votes to Lift Ban on Clean Syringes

Drug addiction is a very serious disease. A person addicted to drugs – whether it is physical, mental or emotional – struggles every day with his or her body’s desire to succumb to the temptation. It is an urge that is not easily ignored. While many people suffering are aware that their addiction could lead to drug charges, the urge is greater than the knowledge.

The risk of being charged with a crime is enough, but New Jersey is making it even more difficult for people addicted to drugs by prohibiting pharmacies from selling clean needles without a prescription. Those who are addicted to drugs and do not have access to clean needles may risk disease or even death.

New Jersey and Delaware remain the two holdout states that still have laws prohibiting the regulated sale of clean syringes, but there is currently a bill circulating through the New Jersey legislature that would end that ban.

The bill was voted on by an Assembly committee in Trenton this month and is on its way to being put forward for a full Assembly vote on Dec. 5, 2011. A similar bill has already passed in the Senate in February.

The bill provides the purchase of a maximum of 10 syringes at a time without the need for a prescription. Proponents of the bill argue that those addicted to drugs will use any needle available when clean ones are not. This, they say, leads not only to disease or death for the user, but could contribute to the HIV epidemic. According to them, it saves taxpayer money and makes it easier for diabetics to obtain syringes for insulin injections.

Opponents argue that it makes using drugs easier for addicts even though the syringes would be clean and clearly empty.

Source:, “N.J. would save money, lives by lifting ban on over-the-counter syringe sales,” Nov. 27, 2011

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