Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 32.1. Health
Chapter 2. Disease Prevention and Control
10/30/2020

§ 32.1-45.4. Comprehensive harm reduction programs.

A. The Commissioner or his designee may authorize the director of a local department of health, or any other organization that promotes scientifically proven methods of mitigating health risks associated with drug use and other high-risk behaviors, to establish and operate local or regional comprehensive harm reduction programs that include the provision of sterile hypodermic needles and syringes and disposal of used hypodermic needles and syringes. The objectives of such programs shall be to (i) reduce the spread of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases in the Commonwealth; (ii) reduce the transmission of blood-borne diseases through needlestick injuries to law-enforcement and other emergency personnel; (iii) provide information to individuals who inject drugs regarding addiction recovery treatment services and encourage such individuals to participate in evidence-based substance use treatment programs; (iv) prevent opioid overdose deaths through distribution of naloxone or other opioid antagonists; and (v) incentivize the safe return and disposal of hypodermic needles and syringes. Comprehensive harm reduction programs established by the Commissioner pursuant to this section shall be operated by local health departments or affiliated organizations with which the Department contracts.

B. A comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section shall include (i) the disposal of used hypodermic needles and syringes; (ii) the provision of hypodermic needles and syringes and other injection supplies at no cost and in quantities sufficient to ensure that needles, hypodermic syringes, and other injection supplies are not shared or reused; (iii) reasonable and adequate security of program sites, equipment, and personnel; (iv) the provision of educational materials concerning (a) substance use disorder prevention, (b) overdose prevention, (c) the prevention of transmission of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases, (d) available mental health treatment options, including referrals for mental health treatment, and (e) available substance use disorder treatment options, which shall include options for medication assisted treatment of substance use disorder, including referrals for treatment; (v) access to overdose prevention kits that contain naloxone or other opioid antagonist approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for opioid overdose reversal; (vi) individual harm reduction counseling, including individual consultations regarding appropriate mental health or substance use disorder treatment; and (vii) verification that a hypodermic needle or syringe or other injection supplies were obtained from a comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section.

C. The director of a local health department or representative of any other organization authorized to establish a comprehensive harm reduction program pursuant to this section shall notify the Department, in a manner and form specified by the Department, of his intent to establish a comprehensive harm reduction program. Such notice shall include (i) the name of the local health department or organization that will operate the comprehensive harm reduction program, (ii) a description of the geographic area and population to be served by the comprehensive harm reduction program, and (iii) a description of the methods by which the comprehensive harm reduction program will comply with the requirements of subsection B, including a written security plan that provides for the reasonable and adequate security of the comprehensive harm reduction program site, equipment, and personnel.

D. Written security plans required pursuant to clause (iii) of subsection C shall be filed annually with each local law-enforcement agency serving the jurisdiction in which the comprehensive harm reduction program is located for their consideration.

E. The provisions of §§ 18.2-250, 18.2-265.3, and 54.1-3466 shall not apply to a person who dispenses or distributes hypodermic needles and syringes as part of a comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section.

F. The provisions of §§ 18.2-250, 18.2-265.3, and 54.1-3466 relating to possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, and controlled paraphernalia shall not apply to any person acting on behalf or for the benefit of a comprehensive harm reduction program when such possession is incidental to the provision of services as part of a comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section.

G. The provisions of §§ 18.2-250, 18.2-265.3, and 54.1-3466 relating to possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia, and controlled paraphernalia shall not apply to any person receiving services from a comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section, when (i) such controlled substance is a residual amount contained in a used needle, used hypodermic syringe, or used injection supplies obtained from or returned to a comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section, or (ii) such paraphernalia is obtained from a comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section, as evidenced by the verification required pursuant to clause (vii) of subsection B.

H. Every local health department or other organization operating a comprehensive harm reduction program pursuant to this section shall report annually by July 1 to the Department regarding, for the previous calendar year, (i) the number of individuals served by the comprehensive harm reduction program; (ii) the number of needles, hypodermic syringes, and other injection supplies distributed by the comprehensive harm reduction program; (iii) the number of overdose prevention kits described in clause (v) of subsection B distributed by the comprehensive harm reduction program; and (iv) the number and type of referrals to mental health or substance use disorder treatment services provided to individuals served by the comprehensive harm reduction program, including the number of individuals referred to programs that provide naloxone or other opioid antagonists approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for opioid overdose reversal.

I. Except in the case of a comprehensive harm reduction program established by the Commissioner, no state funds shall be used to purchase needles or hypodermic syringes distributed by a comprehensive harm reduction program established pursuant to this section.

2017, c. 183; 2020, c. 839.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.