Carrying Sterile Injecting Equipment
NUAA gets lots of people asking: “Is it legal to carry sterile fits?”
It is legal to possess or carry sterile fits in NSW. In NSW, it is only legal if you receive your sterile syringes, barrels and tips from an authorised needle and syringe program worker or pharmacy staff. It is illegal for you to pass on sterile syringes to friends or peers.
As crazy as it sounds while it’s legal to carry sterile syringes it is illegal to possess any other drug paraphernalia, which includes swabs, tourniquets, spoons which you also get from the NSP or Pharmacy if police can prove you intended to use it to administer an illegal drug. This is very hard for police to prove that you are going to use the spoon, swabs, or tourniquets you collected from the NSP for the administration of illegal drugs unless you admit it or the police find you in possession of illegal drugs.
If you are concerned about being stopped while carrying sterile syringes think what else you might have on your person when visiting the NSP or Pharmacy to pick up sterile injecting equipment. The best advice is to ensure you are not carrying anything else that might bring you to the attention of the police. If police remove sterile injecting equipment from you check out the links below for more advice.
Is it illegal to carry used fits?
Carrying used fits, while not illegal, could be used as evidence of the criminal act of self-administration, which is a criminal offence in NSW. Often people think you can only be charged for buying or selling drugs but in NSW you can also be charged with self administration. Self Administration is an offence under section 12 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act. This is a difficult charge to prove as usually there are no drugs for police to find or analyse. Most people who are charged with self-administration are charged because they admitted to police that they used the used equipment to take an illegal drug.
The best advice is if you are questioned by police regarding used injecting equipment is not to say anything that may incriminate you. If police ask you to accompany them to the station for questioning you do not need to go unless you have been arrested for a particular offence. If you are arrested you should speak to a lawyer before you speak to the police.
The best approach is to always collect a disposal bin when you go the NSP and always place used injecting equipment in a disposal container and return used equipment to your local needle and syringe program for safe disposal.
If you have been stopped and searched by police whilst carrying sterile or used injecting equipment or want to know more about your rights check out our legal issues page for useful links regarding issues such as:
If you have been stopped and had sterile equipment taken off you by Police you can complain to The NSW Police Local Area Commander where the event occurred or make a complaint to Customer Assistance Unit or the NSW Ombudsman.