Intravenous drug use is one of the leading causes of the spread of virus and diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C. Those addicts who do not have reliable access to clean hypodermic needles are at the greatest risk. This is why a number of states have adopted needle exchanges and, or making it legal for people to go to a pharmacy without a prescription to get clean needles.
A bill was approved this week in the New Jersey legislature that would allow adults to buy syringes without a prescription. Governor Chris Christie issued a conditional veto, stating he would not approve the measure unless buyers were required to show a photo ID, or otherwise prove to pharmacists they are at least 18, so the bill was revised.
Currently only New Jersey and Delaware do not allow over-the-counter sales of syringes, according to NJ.Com.
A news release issued by the Governor’s office said he “cited the need to weigh both unnecessary impediments for individuals who use injectable medications and the need for additional public safety measures to limit the distribution of needles or syringes used for non-medical purposes while also discouraging minors from buying needles or syringes.” He also called on the state Department of Health and Senior Services to supply pharmacists with information about drug treatment and syringe disposal. Both the state House and Senate voted to amend the bill to incorporate Christie’s changes.
There is no question that this bill is a step forward and hopefully Delaware will come around next so that all 50 states are on board with stopping the spread of disease.