TRENTON, NJ — A measure that requires pharmacists to educate patients on how to safely discard unused, unwanted or expired drugs is now awaiting Gov. Phil Murphy's signature.

All three District 30’s legislators who represent Belmar and Lake Como are sponsoring the bill in their respective chambers — Robert Singer (R-Monmouth/Ocean) in the Senate, where the measure has unanimously passed, and Sean Kean (R-Monmouth/Ocean), Edward “Ned” Thomson (R-Monmouth/Ocean) in the Assembly, where it was approved on February 25 by a 75-0 vote.

The bill, S3240, is called "Charlie’s Law," named in memory of Charlie Van Tassel, who battled addiction for many years before his died at age 33.

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Under the proposal, pharmacists would be mandated to provide instructions that warn patients of the potential risks if the medication is not discarded safely. They would also be required to make available a deactivation product that can neutralize 98 percent of drugs.

“Sometimes the most dangerous drugs are hiding in our medicine cabinets,” said Kean.  “This is an eye-opener that unfortunately isn’t being recognized like it should.  It is too unsafe to let them fall into the wrong hands or end up in our environment.”

“There is a lot more we all have to do to help people like Charlie who fight to stay sober,” said Thomson.  “Pharmacists can provide valuable education so that their patients don’t become part of or contribute to unsettling statistics.”

One in three Americans has expired or unused medication sitting in their bathroom cabinets, which too often end up into the wrong hands, infiltrate landfills or water supplies, according to a press release by the Assembly Republicans.

More than 70 percent of people abusing opioids for nonmedical reasons get them from family or friends, according to surveys conducted for the government's National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health.  Fifty-five percent obtained the drugs for free, another 11 percent bought them, and 5 percent got them without asking.

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