Policy & Politics
New Jersey Assembly Passes Two Needle-Exchange Bills; Senate Vote Could Come by End of Month
October 8, 2004
The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday passed two bills that will provide injection drug users with greater access to clean needles in an attempt to reduce the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases in the state, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Both bills passed 43-28, with six abstentions, according to the Star-Ledger (Hester, Newark Star-Ledger, 10/8). The Bloodborne Disease Harm Reduction Act (A 3256) would allow cities to sponsor local needle-exchange programs that are affiliated with hospitals, clinics or health departments and offer additional health-related services. The other bill (A3257) would allow individuals over age 18 to purchase from a pharmacy up to 10 needles without a prescription. Currently, New Jersey is one of only four states that require a doctor's prescription for needle purchases and one of only two states that bans both nonprescription needle sales and needle-exchange programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/5). The state Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee is scheduled to consider the bills on Thursday and could come to a floor vote as early as Oct. 25, according to the Star-Ledger. Gov. James McGreevey (D) has promised to sign both bills if they reach his desk before he resigns on Nov. 15 (Newark Star-Ledger, 10/8).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.