From The Star-Ledger in New Jersey:
BY SUSAN K. LIVIO
Five years from now, New Jersey residents getting a driver's license will be required to consider becoming organ donors, under a law signed yesterday by acting Gov. Richard Codey.
The law, known as the NJ Hero Act, also makes New Jersey the first state in the country to incorporate organ donation education into the high school curriculum, beginning in the 2009-2010 school year.
"Our goal is to generate a collective awareness about the importance of organ donation so that those who want to donate, will," said Codey, who sponsored the legislation and is serving as acting governor while Gov. Jon Corzine is in Israel on a trade mission.
"Ultimately, we want to move this important conversation out of the emergency room, where illness and injury already create a profound burden, and into the living room, where a thoughtful and deliberate decision can be reached without the pain of loss looming on the horizon," Codey said during a press conference at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
Over the last decade, 2,470 New Jersey residents have died on the organ donor waiting list, according to a statement from Codey's office. In March, 4,341 state residents were waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.
The law requires that in five years, drivers seeking a license would either agree to make their organs available for transplantation after their death, or if they decline, review information about the importance of organ donation.
The state Motor Vehicle Commission will keep a database of registered organ donors, of which there are about 1.7 million in the state. Colleges will be required to distribute organ donation information in campus clinics.
Raj Gupta, president of The Medical Society of New Jersey, said his organization plans to support the law by launching a public awareness campaign about the value of organ donation aimed at his physician colleagues and their patients. "This legislation will help save many lives, and The Medical Society of New Jersey is proud to support this effort," Gupta said.
Codey also signed a measure that would require organ procurement agencies to register with the state health department.
“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
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