Historically, state laws have created barriers that make it difficult for injection drug users (IDUs) to access sterile syringes by criminalizing distribution and possession of those syringes. These laws have likely increased the transmission and spread of blood-borne diseases like HIV/AIDS. As awareness of this public health issue has increased, many states have amended their laws. On this page you can learn more about laws that make it easier or harder for IDUs to access sterile syringes.
This is a longitudinal dataset, displaying laws from July 1, 2012 through March 1, 2016. To explore the variation in these laws click the "Start here" button below.
LawAtlas Interactive Map: Syringe Possession Laws
Network for Public Health Law: Syringe Access Programs and the Surgeon General
Social Science Research Network: Racial Disparities in Injection-Related HIV: A Case Study of Toxic Law
Did you know?
In the jurisdictions that prohibit the sale or distribution of drug paraphernalia, 12 states have an exception that allows syringe distribution to individuals who participate in a syringe exchange program.