TRENTON – A bill sponsored by state senators Joseph F. Vitale and Nia H. Gill that would expand the state’s sterile syringe and needle exchange program to help reduce the prevalence of transmitted bloodborne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis C through shared intravenous needles was approved by the full Senate Thursday.
“Since its inception in 2006, New Jersey’s sterile syringe and needle exchange program has been a proven success,” said Vitale, D-Middlesex, a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and Related Blood Borne Pathogens. “Not only has the program been able to reduce the number of intravenous drug users who transmit serious bloodborne diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis C through the sharing of dirty needles, but it has provided drug users with access to treatment options for their addictions. In fact, 25 percent of participants in the exchange program have enrolled in drug abuse treatment programs. I am pleased that we are able to make this program permanent and to allow all municipalities throughout New Jersey to establish needle exchanges.”