New Jersey's 7th Legislative District

Senator Diane Allen

Senator Diane Allen

Allen Stands in Support of Lifesaving Permanent Needle Exchange Program Law

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Senator Diane Allen (R-Burlington) stated that the signing of a law she co-sponsored to establish a permanent syringe access program is the right thing to do for residents across the state struggling with addiction.

The contents of a needle exchange kit. (Flickr)

“As a longtime advocate for those struggling with addiction, I was proud to work with Senator Vitale and the Governor to ensure the passage of this law,” Senator Diane Allen said. “Establishing a permanent needle-exchange program does far more than prevent the spread of fatal diseases, such as HIV and Hepatitis. For many addicts, visiting a syringe access center may be their only opportunity to access lifesaving medical testing, counseling and a variety of other health services that forge a pathway to recovery.”

Governor Christie on Thursday signed legislation sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale and co-sponsored by Senator Allen to establish a permanent syringe access program and allow municipalities statewide to set up needle exchange programs. The law also supplies $200,000 in state funding to aid the five existing needle exchange programs in Atlantic City, Camden, Jersey City, Newark and Paterson.

“Even when it seemed we were at an impasse, I never gave up the fight to get our bill signed into law,” Senator Allen added. “Nearly 6,000 people received clean needles at syringe access programs in New Jersey last year. We couldn’t stand by and allow a single clinic to close and leave thousands without the care they need. The signing of this law is a clear example of the incredibly important work this legislature can do, when we put politics aside and act in the best interest of the people we serve.”

In addition to supplying clean needles and collecting used needles, syringe access programs in this state also provide medical testing, injection education, counseling, antidotes such as Narcan, and access to housing and drug treatment programs. Syringe access programs in New Jersey have helped to lower the spread of disease and led thousands of drug users into treatment, according to a 2012 state report.

Contact information and addresses for existing syringe access programs can be found here: https://nasen.org/directory/nj/

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