A new bill that just passed both the North Carolina State House and Senate is surprisingly beneficial to both law enforcement officials and suspects potentially facing drug charges.
House Bill 850 was passed earlier this month and, in a nutshell, will authorize law enforcement agents to ask individuals they suspect are using illegal drugs if they have any potentially harmful drug paraphernalia, like needles, on them. If they do, the law stipulates that the suspects can freely hand over the items without facing possession charges.
The bill is seemingly a win-win for everyone. It provides a safety measure to officers who would be vulnerable to HIV or Hepatitis infection if pricked by syringes, and it offers a safeguard to those who, until now, feared criminal charges and jail time if they cooperated with authorities.
Officers at a recent seminar conducted by a representative from the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition were asked whether currently suspects tell the truth about whether they have drug paraphernalia like dangerous needles in their possession. The officers unanimously said no.
Hopefully the new law will change that. It currently awaits a signature from North Carolina Governor Patt McCrory.
Source: Indyweek, Law enforcement and drug users embrace needle bill, John H. Tucker, June 19, 2013