Law Enforcement and Community Safety Act Information

In order to protect Indiana law enforcement from accidental needle-stick injury and potential disease exposure, this bill states that a person who alerts an officer to the presence of a hypodermic needle or other sharp object prior to search shall not be charged with possession of the needle or other sharp object. This exemption does not apply to other drug paraphernalia present and found during the search.

Law Enforcement Safety and Needle-stick Prevention

 One out of three officer, according to one study, will receive an accidental needle-stick during their careers. 28% will get multiple sticks.
 Needle-sticks expose officers to deadly diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.
 Once an officer is exposed to blood-borne disease, post-exposure treatment is costly and burdensome to departments.
 It costs the state of IN $680,000 for lifetime treatment of someone with HIV and $100,000 to treat someone with hepatitis C.
 Most needle-sticks occur during searches when the suspect, fearing reprisals for possession of a syringe, lies to the officer and denies carrying paraphernalia.
 States that have adopted needle-stick prevention laws saw a 66% reduction in needle-sticks to officers, largely because suspects were more likely to declare syringes during a search.
 Needle-stick prevention laws have no effect on drug use or crime in a given area.
 Needle-stick prevention laws have been shown to reduce the incidence of HIV and hepatitis in the community.
 Indiana should support enhanced needle-stick prevention laws that encourage suspects carrying syringes to be honest to officers during searches and reduce needle-sticks to law enforcement.

Situation in Indiana
 Officers in IN frequently get needlesticks. Arrests for possession of syringe have doubled, with increased danger to officers. A bill is needed that will decriminalize needles if a person who is carrying needles (new or used) declares them to an officer prior to a search. This bill must include used needles because the needles with residue in them are the ones most likely to have HIV and viral hepatitis.

Policy Solutions
• Pass the “Tell A Law Officer” bill, as follows:

This bill aims to amend the state’s drug paraphernalia statute (IC 35-48-4-8.3 and IC 16-42-19-18) to explicitly exclude those possessing syringes and needles, including those that contain residual amounts of controlled substances, from prosecution for possession of drug paraphernalia. This immunity would only extend to those who declare a syringe or other sharp in their possession before a criminal justice official searches their person or property, to protect LEOs from needle stick injury and reduce improper / public disposal of syringes.
IC 35-48-4-8.3 Possession of paraphernalia
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2016/ic/titles/035/articles/048/chapters/004/
Sec. 8.3. (a) This section does not apply to a rolling paper.
(c) A person who knowingly or intentionally possesses an instrument, a device, or another object that the person intends to use for:
(1) introducing into the person’s body a controlled substance;
(2) testing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance; or
(3) enhancing the effect of a controlled substance;
commits a Class C misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a prior unrelated judgment or conviction under this section.
(d) Prior to searching a person, a person’s premises, or a person’s vehicle, an officer may ask the person whether the person is in possession of a hypodermic needle or other sharp object that may cut or puncture the officer or whether such a hypodermic needle or other sharp object is on the premises or in the vehicle to be searched. If there is a hypodermic needle or other sharp object on the person, on the person’s premises, or in the person’s vehicle and the person alerts the officer of that fact prior to the search, the person shall not be charged with or prosecuted for possession of drug paraphernalia for the needle or sharp object, or for residual amounts of a controlled substance contained in the needle or sharp object. The exemption under this subsection does not apply to any other drug paraphernalia that may be present and found during the search.
Bill Title: Act to Protect Law Enforcement Officers and Community Members from Needlestick Injury and Disease Transmission.
Section 1. IC 35-48-4-8.3 reads as rewritten:
“(d) Prior to searching a person, a person’s premises, or a person’s vehicle, an officer may ask the person whether the person is in possession of a hypodermic needle or other sharp object that may cut or puncture the officer or whether such a hypodermic needle or other sharp object is on the premises or in the vehicle to be searched. If there is a hypodermic needle or other sharp object on the person, on the person’s premises, or in the person’s vehicle and the person alerts the officer of that fact prior to the search, the person shall not be charged with or prosecuted for possession of drug paraphernalia for the needle or sharp object, or for residual amounts of a controlled substance contained in the needle or sharp object. The exemption under this subsection does not apply to any other drug paraphernalia that may be present and found during the search.”
Relevant Indiana Laws:
IC 35-48-4-8.3 Possession of paraphernalia
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2016/ic/titles/035/articles/048/chapters/004/
Sec. 8.3. (a) This section does not apply to a rolling paper.
(b) A person who knowingly or intentionally possesses an instrument, a device, or another object that the person intends to use for:
(1) introducing into the person’s body a controlled substance;
(2) testing the strength, effectiveness, or purity of a controlled substance; or
(3) enhancing the effect of a controlled substance;
commits a Class C misdemeanor. However, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the person has a prior unrelated judgment or conviction under this section.
IC 16-42-19-18 Legend drug injection devices; violation
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2016/ic/titles/016/articles/042/chapters/019/
Sec. 18. (a) A person may not possess with intent to:
(1) violate this chapter; or
(2) commit an offense described in IC 35-48-4; a hypodermic syringe or needle or an instrument adapted for the use of a controlled substance or legend drug by injection in a human being.
(b) A person who violates subsection (a) commits a Level 6 felony.
IC 16-41-7.5-14 Communicable Disease: Syringe Exchange Program
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/laws/2016/ic/titles/016/articles/041/chapters/7.5/
IC 16-41-7.5-6 Duties
Sec. 6. A qualified entity that operates a program under this chapter must do the following:
(1) Annually register the program in a manner prescribed by the state department with the:
(A) state department; and
(B) local health department in the county where services will be provided by the qualified entity if the qualified entity is not the local health department.
(2) Have one (1) of the following licensed in Indiana provide oversight to the qualified entity’s programs:
(A) A physician.
(B) A registered nurse.
(C) A physician assistant.
(3) Store and dispose of all syringes and needles collected in a safe and legal manner.
(4) Provide education and training on drug overdose response and treatment, including the administration of an overdose intervention drug.
(5) Provide drug addiction treatment information and referrals to drug treatment programs, including programs in the local area and programs that offer medication assisted treatment that includes a federal Food and Drug Administration approved long acting, nonaddictive medication for the treatment of opioid or alcohol dependence.
(6) Provide syringe and needle distribution and collection without collecting or recording personally identifiable information.
(7) Operate in a manner consistent with public health and safety.
(8) Ensure the program is medically appropriate and part of a comprehensive public health response.
IC 16-41-7.5-9 Attending a program does not constitute reasonable suspicion or probable cause
Sec. 9. (a) A law enforcement officer may not stop, search, or seize an individual based on the fact the individual has attended a program under this chapter.
(b) The fact an individual has attended a program under this chapter may not be the basis, in whole or in part, for a determination of probable cause or reasonable suspicion by a law enforcement officer.