90-113.27. Needle and hypodermic syringe exchange programs authorized; limited immunity.

(a) Any governmental or nongovernmental organization, including a local or district health department or an organization that promotes scientifically proven ways of mitigating health risks associated with drug use and other high-risk behaviors, may establish and operate a needle and hypodermic syringe exchange program. The objectives of the program shall be to do all of the following:

(1) Reduce the spread of HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other bloodborne diseases in this State.

(2) Reduce needle stick injuries to law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel.

(3) Encourage individuals who inject drugs to enroll in evidence-based treatment.

(b) Programs established pursuant to this section shall offer all of the following:

(1) Disposal of used needles and hypodermic syringes.

(2) Needles, hypodermic syringes, and other injection supplies at no cost and in quantities sufficient to ensure that needles, hypodermic syringes, and other injection supplies are not shared or reused. No State funds may be used to purchase needles, hypodermic syringes, or other injection supplies.

(3) Reasonable and adequate security of program sites, equipment, and personnel. Written plans for security shall be provided to the police and sheriff's offices with jurisdiction in the program location and shall be updated annually.

(4) Educational materials on all of the following:

a. Overdose prevention.

b. The prevention of HIV, AIDS, and viral hepatitis transmission.

c. Drug abuse prevention.

d. Treatment for mental illness, including treatment referrals.

e. Treatment for substance abuse, including referrals for medication assisted treatment.

(5) Access to naloxone kits that contain naloxone hydrochloride that is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of a drug overdose, or referrals to programs that provide access to naloxone hydrochloride that is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of a drug overdose.

(6) For each individual requesting services, personal consultations from a program employee or volunteer concerning mental health or addiction treatment as appropriate.

(c) Notwithstanding any provision of the Controlled Substances Act in Article 5 of Chapter 90 of the General Statutes or any other law, no employee, volunteer, or participant of a program established pursuant to this section shall be charged with or prosecuted for possession of any of the following:

(1) Needles, hypodermic syringes, or other injection supplies obtained from or returned to a program established pursuant to this section.

(2) Residual amounts of a controlled substance contained in a used needle, used hypodermic syringe, or used injection supplies obtained from or returned to a program established pursuant to this section.

The limited immunity provided in this subsection shall apply only if the person claiming immunity provides written verification that a needle, syringe, or other injection supplies were obtained from a needle and hypodermic syringe exchange program established pursuant to this section. In addition to any other applicable immunity or limitation on civil liability, a law enforcement officer who, acting on good faith, arrests or charges a person who is thereafter determined to be entitled to immunity from prosecution under this section shall not be subject to civil liability for the arrest or filing of charges.

(d) Prior to commencing operations of a program established pursuant to this section, the governmental or nongovernmental organization shall report to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, all of the following information:

(1) The legal name of the organization or agency operating the program.

(2) The areas and populations to be served by the program.

(3) The methods by which the program will meet the requirements of subsection (b) of this section.

(e) Not later than one year after commencing operations of a program established pursuant to this section, and every 12 months thereafter, each organization operating such a program shall report the following information to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health:

(1) The number of individuals served by the program.

(2) The number of needles, hypodermic syringes, and needle injection supplies dispensed by the program and returned to the program.

(3) The number of naloxone kits distributed by the program.

(4) The number and type of treatment referrals provided to individuals served by the program, including a separate report of the number of individuals referred to programs that provide access to naloxone hydrochloride that is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of a drug overdose. (2016-88, s. 4; 2017-74, s. 8.)