Overdose-reversing vending machines may save lives.
Daniel Arendt, a clinical pharmacy expert at the University of Cincinnati, found that a single self-service facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, might greatly increase harm reduction access.
The machine gives out nasal sprays or injections of naloxone, which can stop an opioid overdose.
There are also pregnancy tests, sharps containers, kits for injecting drugs and smoking, pregnancy tests, and bandages in the vending machine.
Increase in Harm Reduction
“A cornerstone of harm reduction is to assist individuals who use drugs to remain as healthy as possible,” says Suzanne Bachmeyer, director of prevention at Caracole, the HIV/AIDS care group engaged in the experiment.
“Vending machines provide patients 24/7 access to life-saving and disease-prevention products. “Dead people can’t be healed or treated.”
The vending machine was installed outside an in-person Syringe Service Program (SSP) site in February 2021. The programme, which helps addicts, requires registration to get a 90-day machine code. After 90 days, reenlist.
The researchers say 911 individuals have used the vending machine since it was installed, with roughly 16% having never utilised harm reduction programs.
960 Overdoses Reversed
The machine distributed 3,360 naloxone dosages and 10,155 fentanyl test strips (which can prevent overdoses by detecting the powerful synthetic opioid in other drugs).
The team reports 960 overdoses reversed using machine kits. Over two-thirds of individuals who reenrolled in the programme found fentanyl in their medications, which caused them to throw them away or use a reduced amount.
In 2021, about 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, mostly from opioids.
Arendt says it was amazing to see how many people used it right away, especially compared to other programmes that helped people get syringes in person.
“Seeing how many individuals wanted or needed something like this was shocking.”
Similar vending machines have been successful in other countries, but the US is catching up.
Naloxone-dispensing devices have been installed in some towns and counties in recent years, but drug safety experts want them to be used more.
The trial’s effect was significant even without sterile syringes. The machine sent harm-reduction information to black individuals more fairly than other agencies in Cincinnati’s Hamilton County, but Arendt thinks additional work is needed.