Bill Named in Memory of NJ Man Who Passed Away After Battle with Addiction
Bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth and Ocean) that would require pharmacists to instruct their patients on how to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired drugs and needles has passed the New Jersey Senate.
Charlies Law, S-3240, would also ensure pharmacists’ patients can access drug deactivation products.
Senator Robert Singer’s bill requiring pharmacists to educate their patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted, or expired drugs and needles passed the New Jersey Senate. (WikiMedia)
Charlie’s Law is named in memory of Charlie Van Tassel, a beloved son and brother who battled addiction for many years before his passing at the age of 33. Charlie’s family remembers him as an athlete and family prankster who loved music and dancing.
“Prescription drug abuse has reached crisis levels in New Jersey,” Singer said. “All too often, this is a disease that begins in the home, because so many people don’t think twice about the medication that’s left unattended in a bathroom cabinet. Unused or expired medication, especially opioids and needles, can be poisonous, addictive, or even deadly if they fall into the wrong hands. To help prevent tragedies such as Charlie’s untimely passing, we have to educate patients on how to best dispose of unused drugs.”
Under Charlie’s Law, S-3240, the healthcare professional issuing a prescription must provide instructions to patients regarding proper drug disposal procedures, along with a warning of potential risks if the medication is not discarded safely.
Additionally, 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 misuse a prescription drug for the first time, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 70 percent of people who abuse prescription pain medicine obtained the drugs from family or friends.
“At this point, everyone in New Jersey knows someone whose life has been forever-changed by addiction. This epidemic isn’t going away any time soon, but we can take steps to combat it,” Singer added. “Reducing access to prescription opioids by raising awareness of proper disposal methods can curb abuse. I hope to see this lifesaving bill become law as soon as possible.”
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