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 has been signed into law.
“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 Law will require pharmacists to educate patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted, or expired drugs and needles.
“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, A-5667/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.
The annual drug overdose death toll remains above 3,000 in New Jersey.