Many residents of Wisconsin can attest to needing medicine like pills or liquids to treat a health condition. However, some people are different because they use a hypodermic needle to inject medication. Individuals who need syringes for health reasons should not have to worry that law enforcement will suspect them of illegal drug use.
State law classifies a number of tools and devices as drug paraphernalia. These include water pipes, bongs and cocaine spoons. It might seem that a hypodermic syringe should easily qualify as paraphernalia in all circumstances. That is not the case.
State law and syringes
Some states fail to address syringe use, making it a somewhat unclear area of law for those communities. Wisconsin is different because it specifically excludes a hypodermic syringe or a needle as paraphernalia. In fact, state law makes it clear that an object whose intended function is to parenterally inject a substance into the human body is a valid device.
This does not mean the law permits a person to use a syringe for illegal drug use. State law may still look at a needle as paraphernalia if law enforcement discovers residue of a controlled substance like heroin on it. However, a needle by itself is not an illegal object.
Selling syringes in the state
Not only is it not against the law to have a syringe, but the Wisconsin State Journal reports that there is no law that bars the sale of needles either. State law does not even require a person to have a prescription to buy a syringe. Stores may set their own standards for buying needles, which may or may not include needing a prescription to make a purchase.
In addition, state law does not forbid needle exchange programs. This has allowed local communities to begin their own programs without the need for a new law. To sum it up, Wisconsin’s loose restrictions on needles means that citizens who use syringes have greater protections against arrest on paraphernalia charges than in some other states.