House Bill 965

Atlanta Harm Reduction Coalition is proud to have supported the signing of House Bill 965 by the Governor of Georgia on April 24, 2014. House Bill 965 was pushed through with advocacy by Georgia Overdose Prevention and support from AHRC. House Bill 965 includes a Georgia 911 Medical Amnesty and Naloxone Law. The first half of the bill provides legal protection for anyone seeking medical help during a drug or alcohol overdose. The latter part of the bill expands access to an opiate overdose antidote, Naloxone.




The Decriminalization of Syringes:

The decriminalization of syringes would give Georgians the right to purchase and carry sterile syringes without prescription. Removing Georgia’s current paraphernalia law would also reduce the risk of occupational needle-stick injuries experiences by police officers. One study done on the risk of occupational needle-stick injuries by metropolitan police officers showed that nearly 30% of the officers surveyed had gotten stuck with a needle at least once in their careers. Many states with the legal SAPs, such as Hawaii and California, have complete support from the local police forces.

Why Georgia needs to decriminalize syringes and SAPs?

1. It would protect both the general public and police officers from needlesticks by allowing for the proper collection and disposal of possibly contaminated syringes and by promoting public health and safety.

2. It would give Georgia’s 40,000 injection drug users access to sterile syringes, thereby decreasing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infections acquired through sharing syringes.

3. Decreasing HIV and HCV infections make SAP’s financially beneficial for the tax payer, the state, and the federal government since sterile syringes cost pennies where the lifetime care for someone living with HIV costs roughly $680,000 or for someone living with HCV costs roughly $100,000.

4. SAPs so NOT increase/enable crime or drug use since they form operations in areas where these problems already exist. SAPs DO, however, decrease the acquiring and transmission of HIV and HCV and DO act as gateways into drug detox and drug treatments.

5. SAP programs in Georgia would be significantly more effective in decreasing disease and promoting public health and safety if sanctioned and supported by the law.

To learn more about Georgia’s drug paraphernalia law, Title 16, Section 16-13-32, visit: