TRENTON, NJ — With the start of the new legislative session last week, several bills sponsored by legislators in the 30th District, which includes Belmar and Lake Como, were signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy. Here’s a rundown:

As a way to combat drug addiction, Charlie’s Law requires pharmacists to educate their patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted or expired drugs and hypodermic syringes and needles. They also must provide a warning of the potential risks if the medication is not discarded safely and make available ways to dispose of unwanted or expired drugs.

Charlie’s Law is named in memory of Charlie Van Tassel, who battled addiction for many years before he died at age 33. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 18 million Americans misused prescription medications at least once in 2017. A national survey found that more than 70 percent of people abusing opioids for nonmedical reasons get them from family or friends.

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The measure (A-5667/S-3933) was sponsored by the 30th District’s Robert Singer (R-Monmouth/Ocean) in the Senate and Edward “Ned” Thomson (R-Monmouth/Ocean) in the Assembly.

The state will establish a Blue Alert System that will disseminate information to the public about a missing law enforcement officer or individuals who are suspected of killing or seriously injuring an officer, under legislation (A-2604/S3272) sponsored by Thomson.

The system would be similar to Amber Alerts for abducted children and silver alerts for missing seniors, with information being sent out by media outlets as well as displayed on electronic signs on state roadways.

A measure (A-268/S-469) by Assemblyman Sean Kean (R-Monmouth/Ocean) creates a special “Support Recovery” license plate to provide housing assistance to individuals in recovery is now law. Fees collected from New Jersey drivers with the new license plate would be allocated to sober living facilities to offset housing costs for both long-term residents in recovery. The measure, which also was sponsored by Singer in the Senate, would also help reduce homelessness as a barrier to recovery by funding needed housing,

READ MORE: Kean’s ‘Support Recovery’ License Plate Bill Reaches Governor's Desk

Also signed into law was Sen. Singer’s bill (S-3422/A6056) to strengthen the state’s Code Blue Alert system by providing the homeless with better access to warming centers during the winter months. A Code Blue will now be triggered as soon as the temperature falls to 32 degrees, with or without precipitation. Under the previous law, the code did not take effect until the temperature dropped to 32 degrees with precipitation or 25 degrees with no precipitation.

Under a companion bill (S-3511-A-5298) that also became law,  a volunteer registry of health care and social services will be created to offers these services to the at-risk population at warming centers during a Code Blue Alert. These services could include vaccinations, physical and mental health screenings, and referrals for substance abuse treatment.

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