Bipartisan bill seeks to legalize needle exchanges in Arizona
Antonio Noori Farzan | Phoenix New Times
For years, most of Arizona’s needle exchange programs have operated underground. Under state law, hypodermic syringes are considered to be a form of drug paraphernalia, meaning that anyone found to be distributing syringes or needles can be charged with a Class 6 felony.
In Tucson, law enforcement officers won’t arrest people who distribute clean needles as part of a county-sanctioned public health program. But in the rest of the state, similar programs exist in a legal gray area.
House Bill 2389 would change that by explicitly allowing local health departments and nongovernmental organizations to operate programs that hand out clean needles to drug users for free, and safely dispose of used (and potentially contaminated) needles.