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Maryland installs life-saving vending machines to prevent overdoses

A vending machine with Narcan is shown. (Photo from Video Aired on WISH)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WISH) — A Maryland county is using a novel approach to the opioid epidemic, installing vending machines stocked with life-saving medications that reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, including drugs such as heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health announced in a release that it had installed seven vending machines stocked with naloxone, known by its brand name Narcan.

The department said Naloxone is easy to use and small to carry. The machines will also offer other “life-saving tools.” That included fentanyl test strips, xylazine test strips, masks, and COVID-19 tests, according to the release.

They’re called Health-To-Go machines.

“These locations across the county were thoughtfully selected to reduce barriers to essential, lifesaving tools,” said Dr. Tonii Gedin, Anne Arundel County Health Officer, in a statement. “We are hopeful this evidence-based strategy of harm reduction will change the narrative and prevent death from overdose. By making fentanyl test strips, naloxone nasal spray, and other critical harm reduction supplies free and available without stigma, we can drive down the injury and harm from opioid overdoses in our community.”

According to the press release, the vending machines may help people access Naloxone “without interacting with anyone else, potentially bypassing the stigma or embarrassment of reaching out for help.”

The drug will be provided at no cost, the department said in the release.

“As first responders, our duty is to respond to emergencies and proactively find solutions through partnerships and prevention,” Anne Arundel County Fire Chief Trisha Wolford said in the release.

Click here to read more about the machines.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and requires help or resources, go online.

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