Drug paraphernalia laws in North Carolina criminalize the possession of various items that someone can use to cultivate, measure, store, or inject illegal drugs. However, many items considered to be paraphernalia also have legitimate uses, like medical syringes.
If you have a condition that requires you to inject medication into your body, you should not have to worry about criminal charges for having a syringe. If you participate in the state syringe exchange program, you could show a police officer that you have the legal right to have a syringe.
Immunity granted by the syringe program
The state of North Carolina allows for limited immunity for individuals who work for the syringe program, volunteer for the program, or are participants in it. In the event the police find you with a syringe or other injectors, you have protection from criminal charges of possessing paraphernalia. This protection applies even if your syringe contains a trace amount of a controlled substance.
Producing verification of your participation
In the event a law enforcement officer pulls you over because you have injection supplies in your vehicle, the law permits you to produce written verification that proves you are participating in the syringe program. Even if the stop still leads to an arrest, it is likely the state will dismiss charges against you once they confirm your involvement in the program.
The exact kind of verification you have will vary according to the exchange you go to. You may receive a written document, or you might get a card that has your picture and identification code. Your verification should also have information to contact the issuing program in the event the police want to check your status.
Contact your exchange if arrested
In addition to having written verification, be ready to contact your exchange in the event the police arrest you for having a syringe. They may help you settle your status with law enforcement and help you avoid charges completely. The protection you have under the law should not discourage you from using a syringe if necessary for your health.