The United States faces a challenging situation due to the opioid epidemic. Statistics suggest that close to 108,000 people succumbed to this epidemic last year alone. To counter the destructive effects of these drugs and avoid further loss of lives, cities and aid organizations have proposed an innovative harm reduction solution – utilizing vending machines to dispense Narcan, the leading opioid reversal medication. This article contains an in-depth analysis of these vending machines and their ability to save lives.
Harm Reduction Programs & Vending Machines – An Overview
Harm reduction programs are created to reduce deaths related to addictions, overdoses, and other medical complications. One way to achieve this is a Harm Reduction Supply Dispenser, an initiative gaining popularity across the United States and Canada for its life-saving capabilities. This automated dispensing solution has proven effective in reducing the risks associated with overt drug usage. Medical kits, safe injection kits, harm reduction supplies, first aid kits, and life-saving medications are just a few examples of the many items that can be dispensed.
There is a Need
The opioid crisis progressively worsens every year. Factors contributing to this include the overuse of opioid prescriptions, the illegal production and sale of opioids, and the accessibility of potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The presence of fentanyl in cocaine and fake pills is responsible for the deaths of those unaware of its existence or potency. This has caused an epidemic of overdoses throughout our society, claiming the lives of far too many.
Fulfilling That Need
An approach by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to supply vending machines with nasal sprays that can reverse an overdose. Narcan, an opioid antagonist, is a medication that can bind the opioid receptors in the brain and nullify the effects of opioids. This medication comes as a nasal spray and is simple to administer. These vending machines, found in public places, can save lives. The availability of Narcan also serves to lessen the stigma associated with addiction, making it a more socially accepted issue.
AIDS Care Ocean State is a service agency in Rhode Island that has found success with our harm reduction vending machines. “If people don’t want to come into the office or don’t feel like traveling 20-30 minutes to come to us, they are able to go the vending machines to get the things they need and not have that face-to-face contact,” said Ray Joseph, ACOS Prevention Supervisor. Harm reduction vending machines make distributing these life-saving medications to clients easier and more accessible. Click here to view the AIDS Care Ocean State customer spotlight.
“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.” – Ashley Hubler, Chief Marketing Officer of the Wittern Group
Benefits of iQ Technology
USI’s harm reduction supply dispensers are powered by our advanced iQ technology, providing an easy, 24/7 supply management solution. Control and manage harm reduction inventory supplies virtually. With the passcodes feature, you can give a one-time use code to an assigned individual and include an expiration date and specific product access. It provides real-time accessible product usage data and makes pulling reports easy.
One of our valued customers, H.O.P.E Testing, has found iQ technology beneficial. “It’s been really easy for us due to the back end software to track the number of clients who are enrolled and the number of supplies. So it makes reporting really easy for us, really helpful to be able to show that impact and those outcomes very quickly”. -Taryn Norman, Executive Director at H.O.P.E Testing
You can watch H.O.P.E Testing’s full customer spotlight here.
IDS – A Proud Silver Sponsor
At IDS, we are at the forefront and a pioneer in facilitating the accessibility and availability of harm reduction and health supplies for users 24/7. We are honored to be a silver sponsor for the 2023 Rx and Illicit Drug Summit, held April 10th through the 13th in Atlanta, GA. It is an opportunity for a global community to share innovations, strategies, and technologies to help manage, treat, and prevent opioid overdoses. Visit IDS at booth #300 to check out our innovative harm reduction supply dispensing systems and technology.