Advocacy & Community Mobilization
Authorization of Syringe Exchange Programs/ Immunity for used syringes (GS § 90-113.27)
A participant of a syringe service program is exempt from PROSECUTION. They may still be arrested, but the charges will be dropped in court. This immunity covers all needles, hypodermic syringes, and other injection supplies obtained from/returned to a syringe service program. The participant is protected from being prosecuted for residual amounts of a controlled substance found in any injection supplies, as long as the injection supplies were obtained from a syringe service program.
Possession of Syringes/Tell Law Officer Law (GS § 90-113.22)
If a person informs a law enforcement officer they have a needle or other sharp object in their pockets, purse, car, or otherwise on their premises they should not be charged with or prosecuted for possession of drug paraphernalia or the residual amounts of a controlled substance found in any syringe(s) on their person. If a participant of a syringe service program is charged they would then have an affirmative defense for when they go to court as long as syringe(s) were obtained from a syringe service program.
Drug Paraphernalia Law (GS § 90-113.22)
It is unlawful to possess drug paraphernalia that would allow a person to ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce a controlled substance into their body. A violation of this law is a class 1 misdemeanor. Currently participants of syringe service programs who are using fentanyl and/or xylazine test strips to keep themselves and their friends safe are exempt from prosecution. Additionally if a nongovernmental organization offers drug checking with an FTIR or mass spectrometer they have immunity from a paraphernalia charge. NCSU offers drug checking with an FTIR free of charge.
Syringe Services Program Law (GS § 90-113.27)
Allows syringe services programs (SSPs) registered with the NC Division of Public Health such as NC Survivors Union to distribute syringes and other injection supplies such as cookers, cottons, and sharps containers to participants. SSP employees, volunteers, and participants cannot be charged with possession of needles, syringes, or other injection supplies (or with residual amounts of controlled substances contained within these items), if they have been obtained from an SSP. A person claiming immunity must provide “written verification” that their needles, syringes, or injection supplies were obtained from an SSP. SSPs will supply a card or other documentation to participants.
Naloxone Law (GS § 90-12.7)
Naloxone is not paraphernalia, nor a controlled substance so it is legal to possess. It can be obtained from your local syringe service program. It can also be prescribed by a doctor or dispensed by a pharmacist via a standing order.
NC Survivors Union offers naloxone free to all participants.
As long as a person has a good faith belief that someone is experiencing an overdose when they administer the naloxone they are immune from civil and criminal penalties.
Good Sam Law (GS § 90-96.2)
Provides immunity for anyone who calls 911 due to a suspected opioid overdose as well as the person undergoing the overdose
Under NC’s Good Sam Law you won’t be PROSECUTED for paraphernalia, underage drinking, and/or possession of under one gram of heroin/cocaine if:
1) You contact 911, a police officer, or emergency medical services personnel.
2) You believe you are the first to call 911 and report that a person is overdosing
3) You provide your name during the 911 call or to the first responder
4) Police weren’t executing a [lawful] search or arrest warrant when assistance was sought
5) Any of the evidence authorities obtained was because you sought medical assistance
You will also be exempt from revocation of pretrial release, probation, parole, and post-release if you follow the 5 conditions above.
NCSU is not a legal organization. These are simply guidelines for reference.
Recap of Our Recent Community Engagement Events
Overdose Awareness Day 2023