North Carolina Syringe Laws Pertinent to Law Enforcement
2016 (HB972-Syringe Exchange Amendment)
Syringe Exchange is legal in NC as of July 2016 (2016's HB972). Syringe exchange programs collect used syringes from people who inject drugs and exchange them for sterile syringes and access to social services, including substance addiction treatment. Syringe exchange programs became legal in North Carolina on July 11, 2016, the day Governor McCrory signed House Bill 972 into law (G.S. 90-113.27). House Bill 972 also regulates the release of law enforcement body camera footage (NCHRC did not participate in the drafting in that section of the bill).
According to G.S. 90-113.27, no employee, volunteer or participant of the syringe exchange can be charged with possession of syringes or other injection supplies, or with residual amounts of controlled substances in them, obtained from or returned to a syringe exchange. Syringe exchange programs will supply a card, letter, or other documentation to each participant stating that they obtained their syringes from the exchange.
2015 (HB 712)
On October 22nd 2015 NC Governor McCrory signed the Pilot Project/Used Needle Disposal bill, into law. This new law does two things. First, it states that anyone who declares a syringe or sharp object to a law enforcement officer prior to search cannot be charged for possession of the object or for any drug residue inside the object.
Second, H 712 authorizes 4 NC counties (Brunswick, Guilford, Cumberland and Haywood) to establish pilot programs to collect and safely dispose of used syringes in their communities. NCHRC started these pilot programs on December 1, 2015.
Possession of Needles/ Tell Law Officer, effective December 1, 2013, states that if a person alerts an officer to the fact that he/she has a hypodermic needle or other sharp object on her person, premises or vehicle prior to a search he/she cannot be charged or prosecuted with possession of drug paraphernalia for that object. The purpose of this law is to protect officers from punctures or wounds from sharp objects that could be potentially contaminated with HIV or hepatitis C and to encourage suspects to be honest with officers about paraphernalia they may have in their possession.
You can buy syringes at pharmacies in NC, but the pharmacist can decide not to sell you syringes.