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A Crazed Patchwork

A Crazed Patchwork


Regulations get highly complicated when it comes to whether needle-exchange programs can be legally operated. In 13 territories the programs are explicitly authorized by law: California, Connecticutt, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C. Three states leave legalization of needle-exchange programs up to local lawmakers: Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania. Four states do not explicitly prohibit the programs: Alaska, Louisiana, Oregon, Wisconsin. And 14 states could have needle exchanges operating whose legality is dubious: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah. However, life is never that cut-and-dried, of course. Alaska, Oregon, and Wisconsin are the only states that have full deregulation, which allows for varied types of syringe exchanges. While Hawaii, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington allow unrestricted sales only at pharmacies. And Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York allow the sale of only a maximum number of syringes per transaction, a number specified by state law. Further complicating issues, in California, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., retail sale of syringes is illegal if the seller knows they will be used to inject illegal drugs. Only 20 states make such sales clearly legal, and the remaining 22 have only a reasonable claim to legality that has not been tested.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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Benjamin Ryan