An Assembly committee has paved the way for final legislative action on a measure that would allow New Jersey pharmacies to sell syringes and needles.

The Health and Senior Services Committee approved the measure Monday. It now heads to the full Assembly. The bill is designed to give intravenous drug users access to clean needles.

The bill's sponsors say access to clean needles helps stem the spread to HIV and other blood-borne diseases.

Opponents worry about the state legitimizing illegal drug use. In 2008, New Jersey became the last state in the country to offer addicts a legal way to get clean needles. But that law allows only limited needle-exchange programs in a few cities.

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