Syringe Access Bill (S-3009/A-4847) advances out of committees

Earlier today, the Senate and Assembly Appropriations Committees approved the Syringe Access Bill (S-3009/A-4847), sending the proposal to the full Legislature for Monday’s voting session. The bill would remove the restrictive municipal ordinance requirement that limits access to lifesaving syringe services in New Jersey. In response to the bill advancing through both committees, the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition releases the following statement.
Caitlin O’Neill, Director of Harm Reduction Services, New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition:

“I commend today’s legislative committees for moving the Syringe Access Bill (S-3009/A-4847) forward and choosing the lives of their constituents over stigma.

“Many lives will be saved by expanding harm reduction programs, which are, for many people who use drugs, the first positive change in a series of many to come. I know because over a dozen years ago, walking into a harm reduction center for new syringes is where my positive changes began, even if I didn’t know it at the time.

“I’m here today because harm reduction services were available to keep me alive during my injection drug use, and because the supportive harm reduction service providers never gave up on me or told me I wasn’t welcome. The Syringe Access Bill will expand these lifesaving services throughout New Jersey, and I am hopeful that New Jersey’s elected leaders will vote in favor of syringe access on January 10.”

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Harm reduction is essential. A harm reduction approach to drug use is the best strategy we have to end the overdose crisis, reduce risks associated with drug use, and affirm the dignity and bodily autonomy of every New Jerseyan.

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