Bill Named for NJ Man Who Lost His Life to Addiction
Senator Robert Singer’s (R-Monmouth and Ocean) bill requiring pharmacists to educate their patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted, or expired drugs and needles passed the Senate Health Committee. S-3240 would also require pharmacists to ensure patients can access drug deactivation products.
Senator Robert Singer’s (R-30) bill requiring pharmacists to educate their patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted, or expired drugs and needles passed the Senate Health Committee. (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.
“One in three Americans has expired or unused medication sitting in their bathroom cabinets,” Singer said. “These drugs, particularly opioids and needles, can be poisonous, addictive, or even fatal if they fall into the wrong hands. To someone like Charlie, who fought to stay sober, a bottle left unattended can be life-threatening. Hopefully, by educating others on safe drug disposal, we can prevent others from losing their lives to the disease of addiction.”
Under Charlie’s Law, S-3240, the healthcare professional 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 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.
“The fight to combat and prevent drug addiction starts right in our very own medicine cabinets,” Singer added. “I hope to see this lifesaving bill become law as soon as possible. We have to do more to address this epidemic, before it’s too late.”
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