State Government

Departments of Government

CHAPTER 79. Department of Health and Social Services

Subchapter VIII. Sterile Needle and Syringe Exchange Program for the Prevention of AIDS and Other Diseases

§ 7990. Definitions.

As used in this subchapter:

(1) “Director” means the Director of the State Division of Public Health.

(2) “Division” means the State Division of Public Health within the Department of Health and Social Services of the State.

(3) “HIV” means the Human Immunodeficiency Virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

(4) “Participant” means an injection drug user who exchanges a sterile needle and syringe unit pursuant to the program established in § 7991 of this title.

75 Del. Laws, c. 428, §  178 Del. Laws, c. 86, §  1

§ 7991. Establishment of program.

The Director of the State Division of Public Health shall maintain a sterile needle and syringe exchange program. The program shall be administered by the Director or the Director’s designees. The Director is authorized to designate private providers of services to operate the program.

75 Del. Laws, c. 428, §  178 Del. Laws, c. 86, §  1

§ 7992. Operation of the program.

The program shall:

(1) Operate for the purposes of:

a. Preventing the transmission of HIV, the Hepatitis B virus, and other blood borne diseases; and

b. Providing injection drug users with referrals to appropriate treatment and other health and social services programs.

(2) Provide for a 1-for-1 exchange, whereby participants shall receive 1 sterile needle and syringe unit in exchange for each used 1.

(3) Be designed to prevent noninjection drug users from participating in the program.

(4) Be designed and maintained to provide maximum security of exchange sites and equipment, including security measures that shall be required to allow for: identification of program needles; a full accounting of the number of needles distributed; the number in storage; safe disposal of returned needles, and any other measures that may be required to control the use and dispersal of sterile needles and syringes, provided however that a participant may exchange used needles and syringes at any exchange site if more than 1 site is available.

(5) Include appropriate levels of staff expertise in working with injecting drug users and adequate staff training in providing community referrals, counseling, and preventive education.

(6) Include services to:

a. Educate the participants about the dangers of contracting HIV or hepatitis viruses through needle-sharing practices and unsafe sexual behaviors;

b. Provide HIV testing and other communicable disease testing as appropriate when available;

c. Provide a linkage for referrals to drug counseling and treatment services, and follow-up to those referrals to assure that participants are retained in care and receive available treatment.

(7) Establish procedures for identifying participants consistent with the confidentiality provisions of this subchapter.

(8) Establish a method of identification and authorization for program staff members who have access to hypodermic needles, syringes, or program records.

(9) Program structure and delivery methods will be designed in response to the local community in which the program operates.

(10) [Repealed.]

75 Del. Laws, c. 428, §  178 Del. Laws, c. 86, §  180 Del. Laws, c. 398, §  1

§ 7993. Criminal liability.

(a) Exchanges under the sterile needle and syringe exchange program shall be exempt from the provisions of §§ 4762, 4771, and 4772 of Title 16 for the participant or for the employees of the Division or designated program staff, whenever the possession or distribution of the controlled paraphernalia or hypodermic syringe or needle is a direct result of the employee’s or participant’s activities in connection with the work of the program authorized under this subchapter.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a program staff member or program participant is not immune from criminal prosecution for:

(1) The redistribution of hypodermic needles or syringes in any form;

(2) Any activities not authorized or approved by the program; or

(3) Violation of laws prohibiting or regulating the use, possession, dispensing, distribution, or promotion of controlled substances.

75 Del. Laws, c. 428, §  178 Del. Laws, c. 13, §  5078 Del. Laws, c. 86, §  1

§ 7994. Oversight Committee.

The Director shall appoint an Oversight Committee for the program to provide assistance and advice in the oversight of the program. The Committee shall include: 1 representative of law enforcement from each county in Delaware and 1 representative of law enforcement from the City of Wilmington; 1 physician; 1 injecting drug user or former injecting drug user from each county in Delaware and the City of Wilmington, and up to 2 other individuals who the Director determines to be appropriate for appointment; 1 legislator from the Senate appointed by the President Pro Tem and 1 legislator from the House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House; 1 elected official from each county in Delaware and the City of Wilmington; and 1 citizen from each county in Delaware and the City of Wilmington. The Committee shall meet periodically to monitor the progress and effectiveness of the program and to examine data compiled by the program pursuant to § 7995 of this title.

75 Del. Laws, c. 428, §  178 Del. Laws, c. 86, §  180 Del. Laws, c. 398, §  1

§ 7995. Data collection and program reports.

The program shall collect the following data for the Director and the Oversight Committee:

(1) Information on the number of participants served and the number of needles and syringes distributed;

(2) A demographic profile of the participants served, including but not limited to: age, sex, ethnicity, area of residence, types of drugs used, length of drug use, and frequency of injection;

(3) The number of participants entering drug counseling and treatment, and the number of referrals made by the program for drug counseling and treatment;

(4) Data on participants regarding HIV testing and other communicable disease testing, counseling, or other social services;

(5) Assessment of the impact of the program on needle and syringe sharing and other high risk behaviors;

(6) Impact on the transmission of HIV and hepatitis infection among injection drug users and their contacts;

(7) Other data as requested by the Director or Oversight Committee to assess the cost effectiveness and strengths and weaknesses of the program.

75 Del. Laws, c. 428, §  178 Del. Laws, c. 86, §  180 Del. Laws, c. 398, §  1

§ 7996. Identification of participants and confidentiality.

(a) Each program participant shall be issued an identification card with an identification number. The identification number shall be cross-indexed to a confidential record containing pertinent data on the participant.

(b) Information obtained by the program that would identify program participants, including program records is:

(1) Confidential;

(2) Not open to public inspection or disclosure; and

(3) Not discoverable in any criminal or civil proceeding.

(c) Upon the written consent of a program participant, information obtained by the program may be released or disclosed to a person or agency as directed by the participant.

(d) If a program participant raises the issue of participation in the program either as a subject matter or legal defense in an administrative, civil, or criminal proceeding, the program participant waives the confidentiality of identity provided under subsections (a) and (b) of this section.

75 Del. Laws, c. 428, §  178 Del. Laws, c. 86, §  1