Update: At the public hearing on April 21, 2021, LD 994 received unanimous testimony in support, including from harm reduction service providers, people in recovery, physicians, and law enforcement officials. It will now move onto a work session.
This bill removes criminal penalties for possession and exchange of hypodermic needles. Removing criminal penalties for possession and exchange of needles is an important step in undoing the harms of the war on drugs and enables safe access to clean needles. This bill is a necessary public health-informed response to the opioid crisis. When a person has a criminal record because of minor drug crimes, it creates serious barriers to housing, employment and other basic necessities.