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Failure to prevent hypodermic needle theft can lead to criminal charges

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2024 | Misdemeanors |

Hypodermic needles are important medical equipment. They’re used to help health care professionals deliver medications directly into a patient’s system. However, they’re also used to introduce illegal drugs and substances to the body, making them a popular target for theft.

Only certain persons may possess a hypodermic under Ohio law. But did you know that if an authorized person fails to take preventative measures to deter the theft of hypodermic needles, they can face criminal charges?

Ohio’s law on hypodermics

According to state law, only the following people are authorized to possess hypodermic needles:

  • Manufacturers and distributors
  • Persons authorized to administer injections
  • Persons who lawfully obtained the hypodermic for self-administration of insulin or other prescribed drug
  • Persons who use hypodermics for research, educational or medical purposes
  • Farmers who use hypodermics to administer drugs to animals

The same law, however, also prohibits these people from negligently not taking reasonable precautions to prevent theft of the hypodermic needles.

What are these reasonable precautions?

There are many precautions a person authorized to possess hypodermics can take. Here are some of them:

  • Securing storage: The needles should be stored in a secure location that’s not easily accessible to unauthorized individuals, such as locked cabinets or storage rooms.
  • Inventory management: Authorized persons should keep accurate and up-to-date inventories to help detect discrepancies immediately.
  • Surveillance: Installing security cameras can help catch thieves or even deter criminal activity.
  • Proper disposal: Authorized persons should use tamper-proof sharps containers to dispose of used needles. These containers should also be properly monitored and secured.

Failure to take any of these basic precautions can lead to criminal charges if a thief manages to steal the authorized person’s needles.

The penalties

A violation of Ohio’s laws on taking precautions against hypodermic theft is a misdemeanor of the third degree. On conviction, the person faces up to 60 days of jail and $500 in fines.

This might seem relatively light as far as criminal punishments go, but a conviction will lead to a criminal record for the person. A criminal record can be devastating for medical professionals who risk losing their license to practice.

So yes, a doctor or distributor’s negligence to secure their needles can lead to criminal charges. If you face charges, consider the impact a criminal conviction could have on your professional career. A legal professional who handles drug offense matters may be able to advise you on your case and fight to protect your rights.

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