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Laws in Nola

Here's a bit about the legal landscape right now:

First of all, it is legal for adults to purchase syringes without a prescription at the pharmacy. 
In 2017, the Louisiana Department of Health, the State Legislature, and the Governor addressed the law on needle exchange. On June 3, Act 40 of the Louisiana Legislature was signed into law. It broadly allows for syringe access programs when local governments give express approval. As communities mobilize around these legal changes, let’s use our vision to come up with what we want this opportunity to look like!
  • HB 250 aka Act 40 was signed into law on June 3, 2017 and is effective immediately.
  • It says the State will not prohibit local governing authorities from establishing or implementing a needle exchange “within their jurisdiction,” meaning it does NOT have to be City-run, but that the City can let other agencies within their City operate a needle exchange.
  • HB 250 was written by the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH). LDH recently completed the CDC’s Determination of Need Jurisdiction, where they were determined to have adequately demonstrated need according to federal law. 
  • Under the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2016, federal law permits use of funds from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to support syringe service programs with the exception that funds may not be used to purchase syringes or cookers. In order to use DHHS funds for this purpose, health departments must first consult with CDC and provide evidence that their jurisdiction is experiencing or at risk for significant increases in hepatitis infections or an HIV outbreak due to injection drug use. 
  • Existing municipal code already supports syringe access in New Orleans 
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  • Sec. 102-115. - Exceptions. [refers to Chapter 102 - OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS]
  • Nothing contained in this article shall be construed to prohibit the sale of hypodermic syringes or needles by licensed pharmacists or drug prevention and/or AIDS education programs as approved by the Department of Health and/or the State Department of Health and hospitals.

Louisiana Department of Health is currently developing policies and procedures for syringe access programs