North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition

The goal of North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) is to move towards a unified vision of protecting the dignity and human rights of people who use drugs in North Carolina by advocating for full-syringe decriminalization, immunity for sharps inside biohazard containers, and improvements to HB850—a North Carolina partial syringe decriminalization bill. The Syringe Equality Access Project (SEAP) works on repealing state laws that prevent access to services, such as syringe exchange programs, and seeks to increase the adoption of evidence-based approaches to prevent HIV and viral hepatitis in the community, particularly among people who use and inject drugs.

Since the possession of syringes is partially criminalized in North Carolina, the SEAP advocates for full-syringe decriminalization, which will provide all syringe users with universal access to the tools to protect themselves and others from the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne illnesses.

Key Activities

  • Increase awareness of the need for syringe decriminalization, immunity for sharps inside biohazard containers, and improvements to HB850 by engaging the public, lawmakers, and law enforcement officers
  • Increase the capacity of harm-reduction organizations in Southern states to change syringe access policies
  • Work with legislators to introduce or commit to introducing legislation on full-syringe decriminalization, immunity for sharps inside biohazard containers, and improvements to HB850. That legislation will improve the social, environmental and community relationship with people who use drugs

Through working with Republican lawmakers and law enforcement in North Carolina and Georgia, we have helped advocate for the passage of three groundbreaking pieces of legislation in both states (2013’s NC-HB850, 2013’s NC-SB20 and 2014’s GA-HB965). These pieces of legislation made harm reduction a bi-partisan issue with law enforcement support. These bills have decriminalized syringes and drug equipment and expanded access to naloxone in the South, where harm reduction historically has not been supported.