Unique Vending Machines Offering the Anti-dose Drug Narcan Gain Support

Unique Vending Machines Offering the Anti-dose Drug Narcan Gain Support

Did you know that just 2 milligrams of fentanyl are enough to cause an overdose? Some governments and non-profit organizations are making use of vending machines to distribute Narcan, a medication reversing opioid overdose, to reduce drug overdose deaths.

Also, Narcan vending machines with this lifesaving medication are being installed in various cities across the country, including North Carolina, Winston-Salem, and Philadelphia, at malls, detention centers, college campuses, and other public places for use in emergencies.

Vending machines dispensing Narcan, the fentanyl antidote, are popping up across the US as a small town of 7000 people was forced to restock seven times in one month – while the opioid death count exceeds 75000 this year.

Furthermore, to increase Narcan availability, some local governments have placed the vending machines strategically near at-risk populations — for instance, at jails — since studies suggest that recently incarcerated individuals are about 40 times more likely to die of opioid overuse than others.

 Some Facts about this Scenario

  • Here are some facts about the ongoing fentanyl crisis:
  • In 2022, fentanyl has resulted in the death of 75,000 people already.
  • In the most recent move to counter the fentanyl crisis, numerous communities have begun utilizing free Narcan dispensing vending machines.
  • As well as that, these machines are stocked with free Narcan nasal spray, and some also include free snacks and other products.
  • Mostly, non-profits pay for the machines, though some local governments have started operating them.
  • Finally, the high number of fentanyl deaths is augmented by the fact that users are unaware of the fatal drug being laced into several other substances including methamphetamine and cocaine.

Why is Fentanyl Dangerous? 

Our Organization’s Insights

Ashley Hubler, Chief Marketing Officer of the Wittern Group, a vending machine supplier in Iowa, said “These organizations, they may be closed at five but with a machine that could be outdoors or placed in a variety of places,” “Now the end users can access the machine regardless if it’s four o’clock during business hours or two o’clock in the morning [to] access the supplies when they need them.” 

Our organization has been selling vending machines for food and drinks for about 90 years. We believe that managed vending machines are easy to implement, offer convenience and provide many more benefits.

Case Study

Amanda Clark, a Lead in the Forsyth County Department of Public Health said, “We actually had an EMS call recently where there was an overdose happening about a block or two down the street from our jail”.

Additionally, she said, “The person who called 911 remembered that there was that Narcan machine at the jail. And so after they called 911, they actually ran to the jail to get some Narcan from the machine while they were waiting for first responders to get there. And the person was able to be revived, and by the time the paramedics got there, they were sitting up and talking and doing fine.

Similar Initiatives and Stats

Initiatives similar to the one shown in the case study above have been taken in Michigan, Nevada, Washington, Indiana, among other states. They follow the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) loosening its restrictions on Narcan and other opioid overdose antidotes in 2019 to increase their availability.

Additionally, vending machines with Narcan are being used in other cities. The Central Washington Recovery Coalition, which is a non-profit organization helping drug users, set up three vending machines around its area, including Moses Lake and Wenatchee. Local charities give users a code, which they can input on a vending machine to receive their dose of Narcan.

The following graph shows the fentanyl deaths in the US from 2017 to 2022:

Final Words

The opioid overdose death rate is higher today than ever before. Synthetic opioids, mainly fentanyl, have contaminated the drug supply. Not to mention, it is found in almost everything these days, which is driving this spike in opioid overdose deaths.

In a Fox News interview, Jim Crotty, former deputy chief of staff for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said, “We should be carpet-bombing our cities with naloxone. That’s how dire this crisis is.”

Reference: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/nonprofits-governments-narcan-vending-machines


A Life-Saving Revolution – Vending Machines To Reverse Drug Overdoses‍

A Life-Saving Revolution - Vending Machines To Reverse Drug Overdoses‍


Drug addiction and opioid overuse are major threats to life in the United States, with reports suggesting that 70,000 Americans fell prey to the epidemic in 2018, 92,000 in 2020, and 1,08,000 last year. To reverse the effects of these drugs and prevent the loss of precious lives, cities and aid groups have come up with a solution that is increasingly gaining popularity – Narcan-stocked vending machines. This article offers in-depth coverage of vending machine’s brand-new avatar – as  lifesavers. 

The Problem – Drug-Overdose Deaths

The statistic above makes for a distressing read. It indicates that the opioid crisis is only getting worse year by year. This complex issue is caused by a combination of factors – including the overprescription of opioids by doctors, the illicit production and sale of opioids, and the increased availability of powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The Fentanyl content (a powerful synthetic Opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than Morphine) present in cocaine or fake pills, has been silently killing the many who are unaware of its mixture or potency.  The result is an epidemic of drug overdose deaths ravaging our society and claiming the lives of far too many people. To make it worse, no situation at hand has proven effective in curbing this. The police and the EMT are at loggerheads, as they could only reverse 1% of the 8,711 overdoses recorded. 

The Solution – Vending Machines Stocked With Overdose-Reversing Nasal Spray

The solution discovered – vending machines stocked with overdose nasal spray, an approach that has even found favor with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). America’s governing body for food & drug safety has joined a few states in easing the restrictions on medications such as Narcan to facilitate its lifesaving role.

Narcan is an opioid antagonist. It binds the opioid receptors in the brain, therefore blocking the effect of opioids. This can reverse an overdose and save a person’s life. 

Narcan is a safe and effective medication that is easy to use and can be administered by anyone. It is available in the form of a nasal spray, which can be sprayed into the nostrils of a person who is overdosing. The nasal spray is now available in vending machines located in public places such as schools, libraries, and parks. 

Vending machines stocked with Narcan or similar medications can be lifesaving. The easier availability of Narcan also serves to destigmatize addiction. It normalizes the conversation about addiction, thus reducing the shame and isolation often experienced by people struggling with addiction. 

In addition to Narcan, vending machines are now stocked with fentanyl test strips. These test strips detect the presence of fentanyl in a drug sample and help prevent accidental overdoses. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid often mixed with other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. It is highly potent and deadly if taken in large doses (as seen above).

How Is It Distributed? 

Vending machines stocked with Narcan overdose nasal spray are becoming increasingly available. In the United States, Narcan is available in more than 40 states. It is also available in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. It is distributed in various forms, including nasal spray, tablets, and injectables. 

Nonprofits across the country are working hard to install vending machines for this purpose. The Wittern Group first received a call from such an aid group, requiring us to outfit a few used vending machines to dispense Narcan. More than 100 such groups contacted us last year requesting quotes for vending machines. A few of the customers we now cater to in this segment include a Rhode Island group that volunteers to provide clean needles to drug users, Yale University, and agencies in California funded by Anthem Blue Cross. 

“They’re putting them in fire stations, jails, churches, places that are public,” – Julie Burgess, The Wittern Group. 

Final Words 

The availability of a tool, even something lifesaving as a Narcan stocked vending machine, does not license the abusive use of substances that could derail the health of individuals and the community. We will do well to understand that the solution we have in hand isn’t something drug users can resort to as a remedy to their addiction. 

Used right, we have something that could take us on the long road to tackling the ugly menace of drug addiction,  After all, innovations, even the little creative ones, have always shaped the fabric of our existence, helping us enjoy the fruits of healthy existence that seemed impossible even decades ago.

Reference link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/vending-machines-dispense-narcan-to-reverse-opioid-overdoses-11669003881