Several cities across the country including New York City, Las Vegas and San Diego, have installed vending machines that provide access to Narcan nasal spray. The spray is the antidote to a fentanyl and opioid overdose. Narcan is the brand name for the drug naloxone.
According to the CDC website, Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids—including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications—when given in time.
Opoid overdose deaths keep on going up, causing tens of thousands of deaths per year.
Vending machines and the medication are being provided by various nonprofit organizations and have been placed in accessible areas in several cities.
The initiative is part of President Biden’s Harm Reduction Program that was released to the public last February.
In Kentucky, after the news of the machine’s installation, the 36 boxes of Narcan that filled the machine that day were gone. The chief of police said he had to refill the machine for the seventh time in just one month. The city has a population of about 7,000 people. A camera was installed to make sure people weren’t stealing the medication.
In Detroit, the city has provided its people with not only easy access to a Narcan vending machine, but the medication is also free. The city’s public health director, Ali Abazeed, said that they simply had to “come to the machine,” and “press the button,” which was automatically programmed to drop out the medication.
In Philadelphia, the Department of Public Health has provided 22 vending lockers across the city. Charlie Nolan, a harm reduction specialist, mentioned that it has been “very effective” and usually has to be restocked twice a week. The machine has 44 Narcan shots.
Last year, the US reported that there were over 100,000 overdose deaths in several cities. Officials aim to observe lower numbers in the coming years with the installation of the vending machines.
If people know where the machines are located, hopefully they can save their loved ones.