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New law could change legal procedure around intravenous drug use

In North Carolina, a bill is being pushed that could forever reduce the risks around intravenous drug use and abuse. If this law is implemented, it has the possibility of saving taxpayers money while simultaneously making it easier to get clean needles for those who abuse intravenous drugs. Drug users would be able to exchange a used needle for a new one and would not have to worry about a legal penalty for any residual drugs found in the used needle. No prosecution or charges can be placed on those partaking in the program when they turn in needles containing traces of drugs.

Various studies in states with laws like this one currently in place have shown a decrease in drug use. When users dispose of used needles and pick up new ones, it also provides a chance to put an alternate treatment plan information in front of the users, thereby providing them with an outlet for help, should they decide to seek it.

This will also reduce the spread of various debilitating and serious diseases. In fact, Hepatitis C has reportedly increased more than 500 percent in the last half of the decade and the cost of treatment is substantial. It also reduces the risk of law enforcement being stuck by dirty needles when they are searching a vehicle.

With similar successful programs currently in place in West Virginia and Kentucky, this once-failed bill is expected by many to pass and be made law. This could be a game changer for intravenous drug users and may provide new avenues for treatment. It may also mean changes in how your North Carolina criminal defense attorney handles a charge based upon paraphernalia and syringes containing drugs allegedly found in your possession. A reduction in charges or total dismissal could mean your avoidance of serious and far-reaching consequences, and if you are guilty, a chance to better understand the options for the treatment you may need.

Source: WNCT.com, "Needle exchange program could be coming to NC," Kelly Byrne, May 3, 2016.

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