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Senator Whelan Press Conference On Ignition Interlock Bill -- "Ricci's Law"



TRENTON Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan and Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean to assist the public in safely disposing of unused or expired prescription medications was signed into law today.

The law, S-2369, codifies in state statute and expands the “Project Medicine Drop” program which provides for secure collection and safe disposal of unused and expired prescription drugs and household medications. It requires the director of the Division of Consumer Affairs to maintain at each participating law enforcement agency a secure prescription medicine drop-off receptacle in which members of the public can anonymously surrender unused or expired prescription drugs and other common household medications year-round. Within the limits of funds made available for the program, it also requires the director to supply, install, and maintain a secure medicine receptacle at each law enforcement agency that agrees to participate and meets program requirements. The law requires the Division of Consumer Affairs to list on their website locations of statewide medicine drop receptacles.

“Unused prescription medications that are left in the home too often end up in the wrong hands,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “In AtlanticCounty, for example, there are only two drop-off locations for residents to dispose of unwanted or expired prescription drugs. With the program’s expansion under this legislation, residents across the state will now find more places to get rid of these dangerous substances from their households and better protect their families.”

The law is part of a comprehensive, bipartisan package of legislation aimed at addressing the state’s growing opiate addiction problem, which has seen an explosion of abuse and deaths throughout the state over the past few years, through education, prevention, treatment, and recovery. According to the Attorney General’s office, there has been a 160 percent increase in heroin-related deaths from 2010 to 2013.

“The expansion of anonymous drug drops to any law enforcement agency in the state can prevent drug abuse, addiction and serious health effects, especially among teenagers,” said Senator Kean, R-Union, Morris, Somerset. “We are doing everything possible to raise prevention awareness and limit the chances that people, especially our most vulnerable youths, are exposed to or have easy access to dangerous substances.”

The bill was approved by the Senate with a vote of 35-0 and the Assembly with a vote of 69-3-0 in February. The law takes effect immediately.