New Jersey's 30th Legislative District

Senator Robert Singer

Senator Bob Singer

Singer’s ‘Charlie’s Law’ Requiring Patient Education on Safe Drug Disposal Advances

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Bill in Memory of NJ Man Who Succumbed to Addiction

Senator Robert Singer’s legislation to combat drug addiction through requiring pharmacists to educate patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted, or expired drugs and needles unanimously passed the Senate Health Committee.

Sen. Robert Singer’s legislation to combat drug addiction through requiring pharmacists to educate patients on how to safely discard unused drugs unanimously advanced. (WikiMedia)

This legislation, “Charlie’s Law,” is named in memory of Charlie Van Tassel, a beloved son and brother who struggled and succumbed to his addiction at the age of 33. Charlie’s family remembers him as an athlete and family prankster who enjoyed music and dancing. He battled addiction for many years before his passing.

“All too often addiction begins at home, stemming from abused prescriptions or unused medication falling into the wrong hands,” said Singer (R – Monmouth and Ocean). “To someone like Charlie, who fought to stay sober, a bottle left unattended can be life-threatening. We can avoid addiction through proper disposal of unused drugs. Ensuring pharmacists educate patients on how to best dispose of unused medication will save countless lives.”

Under Charlie’s Law, S-3933, the pharmacist issuing a prescription must provide written instruction to patients regarding proper drug disposal procedures, along with a warning of potential risks if the medication is not discarded safely.

In addition, the pharmacists must make available to the patient a way to dispose of unwanted or expired drugs. This could be through a pharmacy drop-box or kiosk, or a Drug Deactivation System product, which neutralizes 98 percent of medication and reduces the chance of drugs infiltrating a landfill or water supply.

Every day, more than 2,000 teenagers try a prescription medication not prescribed to them for the first time, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain medicine got the drugs from family or friends.

“One in three Americans has expired or unused medication sitting in their bathroom cabinets,” added Singer. “Hopefully, by educating patients on safe drug disposal, we can prevent others from losing their lives to the disease of addiction. I hope to see this lifesaving bill become law as soon as possible.”

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