Drug laws do not only criminalize possession of the drugs themselves. They also forbid someone to have drug paraphernalia, which is why some Georgia residents may have questions about whether they can possess a syringe. While syringes are frequently employed in the medical profession, they can also be used by ordinary people under certain circumstances. Sometimes those circumstances, however, are not always clear.
FindLaw explains that there is no easy answer to the question of syringe legality. The federal government has not passed a law banning syringes and has instead left it up to the states. Generally, syringes are considered drug paraphernalia, meaning that they can be used to cultivate, modify or inject illegal substances. So a police officer, upon seeing a syringe inside a parked vehicle, might claim to have probable cause to search the vehicle and possibly arrest the owner on a paraphernalia charge.
This does not mean that legal uses of syringes do not exist. Some people suffer from health conditions that require the injection of a prescription drug. Doctors can give out prescriptions for these drugs and the syringes needed to inject them. Some diabetes patients, for instance, need to inject insulin. Some patients require testosterone injections to handle a health problem, such as women who use testosterone to treat breast cancer.
Syringes can also be possessed as part of a needle exchange program. Atlanta’s WABE station points out that in April of 2019, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill into law that legalizes needle exchanges. This law allows people to exchange used needles for sterile ones at needle exchange clinics. So as of 2019, the legal universe of people who may possess syringes in the state of Georgia has greatly expanded.
Still, the issue of syringe possession remains a hazy one, and law enforcement could take advantage of the gray areas of syringe possession by charging you with possessing drug paraphernalia if the police should find a syringe on your person or in your vehicle. Consulting with a professional criminal defense attorney to know your rights is important if you should end up in this situation.