SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ– A bill sponsored by Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr., aimed at curbing opioid addiction in New Jersey cleared the Senate today. The bill, S-2970, would allow hospice and long-term care programs to accept unused prescription medications for disposal by patients when they cease to receive care services in an assisted living facility or private residence.

“Safe disposal of dangerous medications like prescription painkillers is one way to keep these substances out of the wrong hands and will help reduce the chance that others accidentally take or intentionally misuse the medicine,” said Senator Diegnan (D-Middlesex). “Making it easier to dispose unused medication, especially at places like hospice care programs where we know they are often used, will help keep New Jersey families safer.”

Under the bill, unused prescription medications may only be surrendered to a registered professional nurse or licensed practical nurse employed by the hospice or long-term care program. Any medication surrendered to the program must be disposed of at the site where the patient was receiving care services. A nurse accepting the surrender of an unused prescription medication will be required to document: the name and quantity of each medication surrendered; the name of the person providing the authorization and the relationship of that person to the patient; the date and method of disposal; and any unused prescription medication that the nurse is aware of that was provided to the patient pursuant through the program but was not surrendered to the program or otherwise disposed of by another person in the nurse’s presence. The person providing authorization will have the opportunity to review, verify, and sign this documentation.

S-2970 cleared the Senate by 36-1. It heads next to the Assembly for consideration.