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  • Acts
  • 2006
  • Chapter 172 AN ACT RELATIVE TO HIV AND HEPATITIS C PREVENTION.

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to compensate forthwith certain court employees, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 1 of chapter 94C of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 68, the word “, injecting”.

SECTION 2. The definition of “Drug paraphernalia” in section 1 of said chapter 94C, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out clause (11).

SECTION 3. Said chapter 94C is hereby further amended by striking out section 27, as so appearing, and inserting in place thereof the following 2 sections:-

Section 27. Hypodermic syringes or hypodermic needles for the administration of controlled substances by injection may be sold in the commonwealth, but only to persons who have attained the age of 18 years and only by a pharmacist or wholesale druggist licensed under the provisions of chapter 112, a manufacturer of or dealer in surgical supplies or a manufacturer of or dealer in embalming supplies. When selling hypodermic syringes or hypodermic needles without a prescription, a pharmacist or wholesale druggist must require proof of identification that validates the individual’s age.

Section 27A. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of environmental protection and the department of public health, in conjunction with other relevant state and local agencies and government departments, shall design, establish and implement, or cause to be implemented a program for the collection and disposal of spent non-commercially generated hypodermic needles and lancets. The program shall be designed to protect the public health and the environment by providing for the safe, secure and accessible collection and disposal of hypodermic needles and lancets. The departments may collaborate with private companies as well as not-for-profit agencies when designing, establishing and implementing this program.
(b)(1) Sharps disposal programs may include, but are not limited to the following:-

(i) a program for safe, secure home sharp disposal;
(ii) establishing sharps collection centers in medical facilities and pharmacies;
(iii) establishing sharps collection centers in municipal facilities, including, but not limited to, fire stations, police stations and public health offices; provided that sharps collection centers may be located at senior centers only for the purpose of disposing of medically necessary hypodermic needles; and
(iv) medical waste mail-back programs approved by the United States Postal Service.

(2) Medical facilities, pharmacies and participating municipal facilities may work with the department of public health and the department of environmental protection to determine the proper program for sharps disposal implementation within each community.

(c) For the purposes of this section, a “sharps collection center” shall be an identified site within a community which:

(1) uses only collection containers that meet the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the federal Department of Transportation and is marked with the international biohazard symbol;
(2) provides secure and accessible collection containers on site;
(3) accepts sharps from sharps users that are in leak-proof, rigid, puncture-resistant and shatterproof containers;
(4) provides appropriate transfer containers for sharps users who fail to bring their sharps in suitable containers for placement in the collection container;
(5) has a written agreement with a medical waste transporter providing for regularly scheduled waste pickups; and
(6) stores, handles, transports and treats the collected waste in accordance with department of public health regulations.

(d) The program shall be designed to protect the public health and the environment by providing for the safe, secure and accessible collection and disposal of hypodermic needles and lancets. The department of public health, in consultation with the department of environmental protection, shall adopt regulations to ensure the safe, secure and accessible collection and disposal of hypodermic needles and lancets, and shall provide recommendations for legislative action to the joint committee on public health, the senate and house committees on ways and means and the clerks of the senate and house of representatives. Included in the recommendations for legislative action shall be recommended punishments and fines for the inappropriate, unsafe or unlawful disposal of the hypodermic needles and lancets.

SECTION 4. Section 32I of said chapter 94C, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word “possess”, in line 1, the following words:- or purchase.

SECTION 5. Said section 32I of said chapter 94C, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 6, the word “, inject”.

SECTION 6. Said section 32I of said chapter 94C, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following paragraph:-
(d) This section shall not apply to the sale of hypodermic syringes or hypodermic needles to persons over the age of 18 pursuant to section 27.

SECTION 7. Chapter 111 of the General Laws, is hereby amended by inserting after section 25J, the following section:-
Section 25K. The department shall develop an educational insert to accompany the sale of hypodermic syringes and needles. This educational insert shall include, but not be limited to: (1) information on the proper use of hypodermic syringes and needles; (2) the risk of blood-borne diseases that may result from the use of hypodermic syringes and needles and methods for preventing contracting or transmitting such diseases; (3) proper hypodermic syringe and needle disposal practices; and (4) the toll-free telephone numbers of the commonwealth’s AIDS and Hepatitis C hotlines and the Massachusetts Substance Abuse Information and Education Helpline. This educational insert shall be provided to purchasers of hypodermic syringes or needles at the point of sale.

SECTION 8. Chapter 175 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 47X the following section:—
Section 47Y. (a) No individual policy of accident and sickness insurance issued or renewed pursuant to section 110 shall restrict or discontinue coverage for medically necessary hypodermic syringes or needles, notwithstanding section 27 of chapter 94C. The term “medical necessity” shall be construed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in subsection (b) of section 16 of chapter 176O. Nothing in this section shall prohibit applicable co-payments, deductibles, coinsurance or other cost sharing features.
(b) This section shall not apply to individual policies of accident and sickness insurance that are accident only, credit-only, limited scope dental benefits if offered separately, disability income insurance, coverage issued as a supplement to liability insurance, insurance arising out of a workers' compensation law or similar law, automobile medical payment insurance, insurance under which benefits are payable with or without regard to fault and which is statutorily required to be contained in a liability insurance policy or equivalent self insurance, long-term care if offered separately, coverage supplemental to the coverage provided under 10 U.S.C. chapter 55 if offered as a separate insurance policy, any policy subject to chapter 176K and hospital indemnity insurance policies if offered as independent, non-coordinated benefits. For the purposes of this section, “hospital indemnity insurance policies” shall mean policies issued pursuant to this chapter which provide a benefit not to exceed $500 per day, as adjusted on an annual basis by the amount of increase in the average weekly wages in the commonwealth as defined in section 1 of chapter 152, to be paid to an insured or a dependent, including the spouse of an insured, on the basis of a hospitalization of the insured or a dependent.

SECTION 9. Chapter 176A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 8Y, the following section:—
Section 8Z. No contract between a subscriber and the corporation under an individual or group hospital service plan which is delivered, issued or renewed in the commonwealth shall restrict or discontinue coverage for medically necessary hypodermic syringes or needles to any individual and group subscribers within the commonwealth and to any group subscribers having a principal place of employment within the commonwealth, notwithstanding section 27 of chapter 94C. The term “medical necessity” shall be construed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in subsection (b) of section 16 of chapter 176O.

SECTION 10. Chapter 176B of the General Laws, is hereby amended by inserting after section 4Y, the following section:—
Section 4Z. No subscription certificate under an individual or group medical service agreement, delivered, issued or renewed in the commonwealth shall restrict or discontinue coverage for medically necessary hypodermic syringes or needles to any individual or group subscribers within the commonwealth or to any group subscribers having a principal place of employment within the commonwealth, notwithstanding section 27 of chapter 94C. The term “medical necessity” shall be construed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in subsection (b) of section 16 of chapter 176O.

SECTION 11. Chapter 176G of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 4Q, the following section:—
Section 4R. No individual or group health maintenance contract shall restrict or discontinue coverage for medically necessary hypodermic syringes or needles, notwithstanding section 27 of chapter 94C. The term “medical necessity” shall be construed in accordance with the guidelines set forth in subsection (b) of section 16 of chapter 176O.

SECTION 12. Chapter 265 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 15B the following section:-
Section 15C. (a) Whoever commits an assault upon another, by means of a hypodermic syringe, hypodermic needle, or any instrument adapted for the administration of controlled or other substances by injection, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years or in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(b) Whoever commits an assault and battery upon another, by means of a hypodermic syringe, hypodermic needle, or any instrument adapted for the administration of controlled or other substances by injection, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 15 years or in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years, or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

SECTION 13. The schedule of forms and pleadings in section 79 of chapter 277 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2004 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the forms of complaint or indictment for: Possession of hypodermic instrument, at lines 464 to 465, inclusive, and Sale and delivery of hypodermic instrument, at lines 466 to 467, inclusive.

SECTION 14. The department of public health, in consultation with the department of environmental protection, shall adopt its initial regulations and provide its initial legislative recommendations under section 27A of chapter 94C of the General Laws, not later than 90 days following the effective date of this act.

SECTION 15. The department of public health shall perform a comprehensive study and review of the existing needle exchange programs established pursuant to section 215 of chapter 111 of the General Laws. The study shall include, but not be limited to: a review and analysis of the relationship between the provisions of this act and the operation of the needle exchange programs; the success of existing needle exchange programs; whether existing needle exchange programs should be maintained without change, phased out or expanded to other municipalities.

SECTION 16. Not earlier than 24 months and not later than 36 months after the effective date of this act, the department of public health shall submit a report to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on public health which shall include analysis of the impact of this act. The report shall include, but not be limited to: statistics on the methods hypodermic syringes and hypodermic needles are disposed; increases or decreases in the spread of hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus; and proposed changes to this act consistent with the public health and welfare.

SECTION 17. The department of public health shall provide a report to the general court on the program for the collection and disposal of non-commercially generated, spent hypodermic needles and lancets pursuant to section 27A of chapter 94C of the General Laws. The report shall be filed with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives by July 20, 2006. The report shall include the proposed location of sharps collection centers, and the department shall notify each city and town of the locations of proposed collection centers in that city or town. The department shall also make this list of proposed collection centers available online. Section 27 of said chapter 94C, as amended by this act, shall take effect on September 18, 2006.


House of Representatives, July 13, 2006.

This Bill having been returned by His Excellency the Governor with his objections thereto in writing (see House 5124) has been passed by the House of Representatives, notwithstanding said objections, two-thirds of the House (115 yeas to 42 nays) having agreed to pass the same.
Sent to the Senate for its action.
Salvatore F. DiMasi, Speaker.
Steven T. James, Clerk.

Senate, July 13, 2006.

Passed by the Senate, notwithstanding the objections of His Excellency the Governor, two-thirds of the members present (25 yeas to 11 nays) having approved the same.
Robert E. Travaglini, President.
William F. Welch, Clerk.

July 21, 2006.