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Yes. There are significant legal protections for Syringe Services Program (SSP) Participants, Volunteers and Staff. Under Senate Bill 97, § 24-908. Immunity from prosecution; permitted prosecutions
Approved Program Activities Provide Significant Legal Protections to Staff, Volunteer and Participants whom:
“MAY NOT BE ARRESTED, CHARGED, OR PROSECUTED FOR VIOLATING § 5–601, § 5–619, § 5–620, OR § 5–902(C) OR (D) OF THE CRIMINAL LAW ARTICLE FOR POSSESSING OR DISTRIBUTING CONTROLLED PARAPHERNALIA OR DRUG PARAPHERNALIA WHENEVER THE POSSESSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF THE CONTROLLED PARAPHERNALIA OR DRUG PARAPHERNALIA IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THE EMPLOYEE’S, VOLUNTEER’S, OR PARTICIPANT’S ACTIVITIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORK OF A PROGRAM AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS SUBTITLE.”
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According to the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC) Harm Reduction is:
What Harm Reduction is NOT:
• No matter what drug they are using, ALWAYS HAVE NALOXONE/NARCAN. Fentanyl is frequently found in all drugs (cocaine, meth, street purchased pills, etc.)• TEST THE SUPPLY. Knowing whether fentanyl is present in the drug can help guide decisions related to use.• NEVER USE ALONE. Having someone with them allows them to call 911 and provide care if they overdose.• IF THEY DO USE ALONE, HAVE THEM ASK SOMEONE TO CHECK ON THEM. There are many ways to do this. They can ask someone to check on them in 5 minutes (either by phone, text, in person).• BE AWARE OF THINGS THAT PLACE THEM AT GREATER RISK OF OVERDOSE. These include a history of overdose, if they have not used opioids in a while (their tolerance drops fast), if they are sick (cold, flu, viruses make it easier to overdose), and if they are using other drugs at the same time (especially alcohol, benzos, and other opioids).• USE SLOWLY. Using slowly allows their body to adjust and gives a person time to understand how the drugs may affect them.• TRY SNORTING OR SMOKING INSTEAD. Injecting carries the highest risk of overdose. You can still overdose by smoking and snorting, especially with fentanyl, so start slow and use less to start.
Fentanyl test strips are a form of drug testing technology that have shown to be effective at detecting the presence of fentanyl and fentanyl-analogs in drug samples prior to ingestion. Based on the results of the test strips, people can choose to implement strategies to reduce the risk of overdose. Published literature supports that people are willing to use fentanyl test strips and change behavior as a result of a positive test.
The Frederick County Health Department distributes free fentanyl test strips to people who use drugs. Visit our page to learn more about our Syringe Services Program.
Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) have been shown to: