Star-Ledger (Newark) (12.06.11) - Wednesday, December 07,
A1088, a measure nearly 20 years in the making, has reached
the desk of Gov. Chris Christie. On Monday, lawmakers gave
their final approval to the bill, which would allow New Jersey
adults to purchase up to 10 syringes without a prescription.
If signed by Christie, it would make New Jersey the 49th state
to permit over-the-counter needle sales.
"This is a historic moment," said Roseanne Scotti, state
director for the Drug Policy Alliance. "This legislation has
overwhelming support from the medical and public health
community. Gov. Christie now has the opportunity to sign this
legislation that will help end AIDS and save lives."
The governor has not stated his position on A1088. Though as a
US attorney Christie opposed needle-exchange programs, in his
2009 gubernatorial campaign he indicated he was reconsidering.
"The bill will get careful review and consideration," said
Christie spokesperson Michael Drewniak.
Assembly member Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer), a co-sponsor, said
the measure requires pharmacies to provide information to
needle purchasers about safe disposal and drug-treatment
programs. "This sensible and controlled approach will enable
syringe users to take personal responsibility for both their
health and the health of others and hopefully get them on a
path to treatment," he added.
Under A1088, anyone who buys a needle and sells it to another
person could be charged with a disorderly persons offense,
which can carry a fine of up to $1,000 and a maximum of six
months in prison.