Welcome to the North Carolina Safer Syringe Initiative. Here you will be able to find information about existing syringe services programs in the state, resources for healthcare providers and law enforcement agencies, testing and treatment programs, details about the limited immunity provided under the syringe exchange law.
North Carolina Safer Syringe Initiative Assistance
As of July 11, 2016, North Carolina (G.S. 90-113.27) allows for the legal establishment of hypodermic syringe and needle services programs. Any governmental or nongovernmental organization “that promotes scientifically proven ways of mitigating health risks associated with drug use and other high-risk behaviors” can start a syringe services program (SSP). The Division of Public Health and the Department of Health and Human Services do not operate syringe services programs in North Carolina. The Division of Public Health works in partnership with the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition to provide technical assistance to existing programs.
Included in the law is a provision that protects SSP employees, volunteers, and participants from being charged with possession of syringes or other injection supplies, including those with residual amounts of controlled substances present, if obtained or returned to a SSP. SSP employees, volunteers and participants must provide written verification (including a participant card or other documentation) to be granted limited immunity.
Syringe services programs in North Carolina are required to provide the following services:
- Syringe disposal
- Distribution of sterile syringes and new injection supplies at no cost and in sufficient quantities to prevent sharing or reusing
- Site, personnel and equipment security, including annual written plans to police and/or sheriff’s departments within whose jurisdictions they operate
- Education materials concerning:
- Prevention of disease transmission, overdose and addiction
- Treatment options, including medication-assisted therapy (MAT) and referrals
- Naloxone (Narcan) distribution and training, or referrals to these services
- Consultations/referrals to mental health or substance use disorder (SUD) treatment
The law encourages syringe return to ensure that they are disposed in a safe and secure manner, but does not require participants to return used syringes.
Prior to commencing operations, NC SSPs are required to register with the NCDHHS Division of Public Health (DPH), by completing and submitting the Syringe Services Program Sign-up Form to SyringeExchangeNC@dhhs.nc.gov. Each SSP is required to submit annual reports to DPH.
Treatment resources can be found through the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. HIV and Hepatitis C testing and treatment resources can be found through the Communicable Disease Branch.
Please contact SyringeExchangeNC@dhhs.nc.gov with any further questions.
Older NCSSI Annual Reports
NC Safer Syringe Initiative Annual Report 2021-2022
NC Safer Syringe Initiative Annual Report 2020-2021
NC Safer Syringe Initiative Annual Report 2019-2020
NC Safer Syringe Initiative Annual Report 2018-2019
2016-17 Annual Reporting Summary
2017-2018 Annual Reporting Summary: Building up and strengthening syringe exchange in North Carolina