TRENTON – A bill that requires pharmacists to educate patients on how to dispose of unwanted medications was signed into law.
The law is designed to keep prescription drugs out of the hands of addicts, said sponsor Sen. Robert Singer (R-30th).
The law will require pharmacists to educate patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted, or expired drugs and needles.
It is named “Charlie’s Law” in memory of Charlie Van Tassel, who succumbed to his addiction at the age of 33, according to Smith.
“All too often addiction begins at home, stemming from abused prescriptions or unused medication falling into the wrong hands,” Singer said. “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.”
According to the specifics of the law (which can be found by looking up A-5667 or S-3933), the pharmacist who issues the prescription must provide written instruction to patients on how to properly dispose of drugs, along with a warning of potential risks if the medication is not discarded safely. Additionally, the pharmacist is tasked to provide an easy way for the customer to dispose of the medications. This could be through a pharmacy drop-box or kiosk, or a drug deactivation product, which neutralizes 98 percent of medication and reduces the chance of drugs infiltrating a landfill or water supply.
Several local municipalities have places where you can drop off old, unused prescriptions and they will be destroyed.
The annual drug overdose death toll remains above 3,000 in New Jersey, Smith said.