Instead of snacks, a new vending machine in Brooklyn is stocked with naloxone and fentanyl test strips. Potentially life-saving products are available for free at the corner of Broadway and Decatur Avenue in Ocean Hill. Why do we need these machines, said the publication CBS News.
A large blue box has been installed in Brooklyn that will offer life-saving naloxone to opioid overdosed addicts, along with instructions on how to use the drug. Instead of snacks or sodas, the vending machine also has hygiene and safe sex kits that anyone with a New York zip code can grab. Fox News.
Health officials said it was time to try something different.
“I think they will be surprised to find that this is a public health vending machine. I think it's a great thing. I hope this gets people talking,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The 1676 Broadway vending machine is the first of four to be installed in New York's drug-addicted neighborhoods with the highest overdose rates.
Users simply enter their zip code and select what they need. For free.
“I think it's a good idea,” said Rose Meredith. "The test costs money and people in the area can't afford it."
The city recorded a record 2021 overdose deaths in 2668, and the 2022 statistics are expected to be bleaker.
The vending machine is designed to curb this trend by giving addicts free access to naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and "Safe Smoking" kits that come with a pipe, mouthpiece, and lip balm for smoking crack and methamphetamine.
The machine is also equipped with Safe Sniff kits, condoms, tampons, nicotine gum and first aid kits.
Elan Kouachi of the nonprofit Services for the UnderServed said the products in these vending machines are critical. His non-profit organization is responsible for the availability of vending machines.
“There will be safe kits for smoking, safe kits for injections and other types of drug intake,” Kouachi said.
“This public health vending machine will be a game changer. Through it, we can provide free and easy access to life-saving products that prevent overdoses, infections and other health risks associated with substance use. The machine also provides essentials that can improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers, regardless of their income, insurance or housing status, said Perry Perlmutter, interim president and CEO of Services for the UnderServed. “By deploying these machines in strategic locations, we are fulfilling our commitment to harm reduction, health promotion and recovery support for our most vulnerable communities.”
“Services need to be easily accessible to everyone we know and love,” said Rebecca Lynn-Walton of Low Income Services.
Some people didn't like the Ocean Hill vending machine and said it might attract crime.
“No one on this block wants a car. She will lure people from other areas. And what will happen to the children? Keisha DeVon said.
Advocates say the hope is that people will seek long-term help after using vending machines. They can scan the QR code on the vending machines to contact someone who will help them.
The vending machines are part of Mayor Eric Adams' plan to reduce overdose deaths by 15% by 2025.
There are similar programs in Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
Officials say similar machines in the US, Europe and Australia have shown effectiveness in reducing overdose rates and the spread of infectious diseases.