How Thousands of Addicts Get Needles

Buying prescriptions

Today more and more states have begun opening and even endorsing needle exchanges. While in several states, needles have been available over the counter for decades, this is not the case in every state and was definitely not the case in Miami where I grew up.

Needle exchanges are controversial. It is sometimes seen as an endorsement of drug addicts. There is one problem with this thought process however. Not having them does not prevent intravenous use. In Miami, all it turned into was having dealers that sold needles. If you're picturing a guy with needles in his pocket taking your money and handing them to you, you would be right.

This is actually a public safety issue. Ideally, you would only take them if you saw them hermetically sealed; but when you’re sick and craving, that goes out the window. The other thing when they are this taboo needles do not get safely disposed of.

While the CDC lists Florida as a state where needle sales are not restricted to prescription only that is not the case in Broward and Miami-Dade County. While this is a step in the right direction and decreases the potential damage it does not solve the addiction problem. Ultimately addiction treatment and the right type of family help is what will change that.

In an effort to possibly prevent avoidable damage I have listed out the states where syringes are available over the counter. Though you may have to look closer to see if your county has its own provisions outlawing it.

States Where it is Legal

  • California Cal. Bus &. Prof. Code §4142; Cal. Bus &. Prof. Code §4145.5
  • Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. §21a-65
  • Florida Fla. Stat. §893.147
  • Hawaii Haw. Rev. Stat. §325-21
  • Illinois 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. §635/1
  • Indiana 856 Ind. Admin. Code 2-6-18
  • Iowa Iowa Code §155A.21
  • Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §217.177
  • Louisiana La. Admin. Code tit. 46, pt. LIII, §2509
  • Maine Me. Stat. tit. 32, §13781-A
  • Maryland Md. Code Regs.
  • Massachusetts Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 94C, §27
  • Minnesota Minn. Stat. §325F.785; Minn. Stat. 151.40
  • Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-442
  • Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §454.480
  • New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §318:52-c
  • New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat. §2C:36-6.2
  • New Mexico N.M. Stat. §30-31-25.1
  • New York N.Y. Pub. Health Law §3381 (McKinney); N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 10, §80.137
  • Ohio Ohio Rev. Code §3719.172
  • Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. §475.525
  • Pennsylvania 49 Pa. Cons. Stat. §27.18
  • Rhode Island R.I. Code R. §31-2-2:2.0
  • South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. §44-53-930
  • Utah Utah Code §58-37a-5
  • Virginia Va. Code Ann. 54.1-3647
  • Washington Wash. Rev. Code §70.115.050

States Where it is Potentially Available over the Counter

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

States Where it is not legal without a Prescription

  • Delaware
  • Tennessee

This list is provided by the CDC and was the last update in July 2016. If you are in a state that it is not available, do your research and please let us know if this list needs to be updated.



Aaron has been writing drug education articles and documenting the success of the Narconon program for over two years.