STATE & LOCAL LAWS
Trystereo - New Orleans Harm Reduction Network is a legal syringe access and naloxone distribution program. Syringe access supplies should not be considered paraphernalia as they protect participants from communicable diseases like HIV and HCV.
It is legal for adults to purchase syringes without a prescription at the pharmacy.
In 2017, the Louisiana Legislature allowed for syringe access programs in the state, if local government authorized them (La R.S. 40:1024).
In 2017 (renewed 2018 and 2019), the Louisiana Department of Health issued a Standing Order (La R.S. 40:978.2) allowing for the distribution and use of naloxone without a prescription from a doctor.
Trystereo’s Overdose Prevention Program is authorized by standing order since 2017 (available upon request).
A Brief History of Syringe Exchange in New Orleans:
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.
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.
Municipal code Sec. 102-115. - Exceptions. [refers to Chapter 102 - OFFENSES AND MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS] was amended to clearly authorize syringe access in New Orleans in 2018
Act 370 of the 2016 Legislature in Louisiana increases access to naloxone. Medical professionals issue a standing order - a prewritten medication order by an authorized prescriber - to pharmacies, where naloxone can then be sold, and to community organizations, who can give naloxone out free-of-charge.
Naloxone is now legal for anyone to have on hand. A 2014 Good Samaritan Law also protects* the victim of overdose from criminal charges, excluding possession with intent to distribute, when 911 is called.
Louisiana Department of Health is currently developing policies and procedures for syringe access programs