Syringe Access Stance: NCHRC Supports Syringe Decriminalization, Syringe Exchange and Needle Stick Prevention Efforts for Law Enforcement and First Responders

  

  • One out of three officers nationally will receive an accidental needle-stick during their careers. 28% will get multiple sticks.
  • Needle-sticks expose officers and the public to deadly diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B & C.
  • Once an officer is exposed to blood-borne disease, post-exposure treatment is costly and burdensome to departments.
  • It costs the state of NC $680,000 for lifetime treatment of someone with HIV and $100,000- $500,000 to treat someone with hepatitis C.
  • Most needle-sticks occur during searches when the suspect, fearing reprisals for possession of a syringe, lies to the officer and denies carrying paraphernalia.
  • States that have adopted needle-stick prevention laws and/or syringe exchange saw a 66% reduction in needle-sticks to officers, largely because suspects were more likely to declare syringes during a search.
  • Needle-stick prevention laws and syringe exchange have no effect on drug use or crime in a given area.
  • Needle-stick prevention laws and syringe exchange have been shown to reduce the incidence of HIV and hepatitis in the community.
  • According to a NC study on law enforcement, results show 82% of NC officers surveyed were identified HIV as a big concerned on the job. 60% had a positive impression of needle-stick prevention laws. 62% of law enforcement agreed that they would be good for the community.
  • North Carolina should support needle-stick prevention laws and syringe exchange to encourage suspects carrying syringes to be honest to officers during searches and reduce needle-sticks to law enforcement.