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Senate committee passes bill that would provide safe disposal site info through 211 telephone system

NEW JERSEY – A bill that will require the Division of Consumer Affairs to provide information on safe disposal sites for hypodermic syringes and needles, and prescription drugs, through the state’s 211 telephone system is one step closer to becoming law.

The bill (S4156/A4337), sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, was released by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee Thursday.

“It’s vital to the health and safety of New Jersey residents to know where they can safely dispose of syringes and medication,” Rooney (R-Bergen) said. “Improperly discarded medical waste can pose a risk to children and animals, and those fighting addictions.”

Used needles carry the risk of transmitting blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. New Jersey law requires that needles be properly discarded, either through a safe syringe disposal program, usually run by a local hospital, or with household waste after being stored in a rigid container such as used laundry detergent bottles.

“Used syringes have been washing ashore from sewer systems overflow during heavy rain closing New Jersey beaches each summer. This bill will bring awareness and solutions to combat this issue rather than flushing used needles down the toilet,” Rooney said.

Residents who want to locate a safe disposal location would be able to retrieve that information from 211, the state’s information and referral hotline launched in 2005.

“Residents who feel more at ease getting their information in a phone call rather than from the internet will have that option,” Rooney added.

The Assembly unanimously passed the bill in June 2023.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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