Winning Syringe Access in New Jersey
In 2003, the Drug Policy Alliance created the Campaign for a Healthier New Jersey to push for expanded access to syringes through over-the-counter pharmacy sales and the creation of syringe access programs. At the time, the state was experiencing some of the highest rates of HIV infections in the country, thanks in large part to its unenlightened policies that banned both of these simple, life-saving measures. Not only were these misguided policies destroying lives, they were costing taxpayers millions of dollars.
In December of 2006, the campaign achieved its first major victory when then-Governor Corzine signed the Blood-Borne Disease Harm Reduction Act, allowing for the establishment of up to six pilot syringe access programs. To date, these programs have been a resounding and unqualified success—they have enrolled more than 10,000 participants and served as a bridge to drug treatment and other critical social and medical services.
A second major campaign victory came in January 2012 when Governor Chris Christie built on these disease prevention efforts by signing a bill that provides for the sale of up to ten syringes in pharmacies without a prescription, as long as the sale is accompanied by a pamphlet advising safe disposal information.
The Campaign for a Healthier New Jersey continues to work on measures designed to expand access to sterile syringes and increase government support and funding for these critical and life-saving interventions. Join the campaign.