You might wonder whether or not the police will arrest you if they find you with a hypodermic needle. It is true that people can inject themselves with illegal drugs using a needle, making the needle a piece of drug paraphernalia. Still, people also use needles for legitimate reasons.
Fortunately, Louisiana law describes a number of defenses state residents may offer against charges of possessing a needle for illegal paraphernalia purposes.
Legally approved uses of needles
Many people have a prescription for medicine. However, some patients need to inject their medication instead of drinking or chewing it. If a doctor has written you a prescription, you should not have a problem with the law.
Needles also have legal uses in scientific or medical work. According to state law, residents can offer an affirmative defense of having a needle for the purposes of industrial, scientific, agricultural or veterinary use.
The lawful sale of needles
While you may not use a needle yourself, you might help with the sale of hypodermic needles. As state law explains, dealers of needles have the right to produce, market, distribute and sell needles for a variety of legitimate purposes in the scientific, medical or industrial fields.
Using a needle exchange program
The provisions of Louisiana drug law do not prohibit local governments from creating needle exchange programs. So if you are in a city or parish that has such a program, you may be able to dispose of a needle without legal repercussions.
Knowing these defenses should help you feel confident that law enforcement does not always look at hypodermic needles as illegal objects.