D.C. officials will roll out six “harm reduction” vending machines across the District stocked with lifesaving tools, like Naloxone, Fentanyl strips and hygiene and wellness products, according to a Tuesday release.
DC Health, the Department of Behavioral Health and D.C. Fire and Emergency Services are adding the vending machines in “strategically placed” locations like outside firehouses where officials say there are higher rates of drug overdoses and that they have already placed four vending machines around the District. The release states the vending machines are part of a pilot program aimed at understanding the utilization and effect eased access to the products will have on the “wellbeing” of an area.
Here’s where to find the machines:
- Engine #7: 1101 Half St. SW, Washington, DC 20024
- Engine #33: 101 Atlantic St. SE, Washington, DC 20032
- Engine #27: 4260 Minnesota Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20019
- Whitman Walker Health Center: 2301 Martin Luther King Jr Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20020
“Similar machines have become prevalent in cities nationwide because they provide easy access to critical services that benefit the most vulnerable populations,” the release states.
DC Health’s announcement to provide Naloxone vending machines follows other large U.S. cities like San Diego, Las Vegas and New York in their efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. D.C. had more than 400 opioid-related deaths in 2020, or 34.7 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 14.6 deaths per 100,000.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved a Narcan nose spray as an over-the-counter drug, set to be available for purchase by the end of the summer.
Naloxone, or Narcan, is a medication that “rapidly reverses” an opioid overdose and is the standard method of reversing overdoses, according to the National Institution of Health.
DC Health partnered with Family and Medical Counseling Services and HIPS in October 2021 to implement “harm reduction” vending machines around the District, according to the release.
This article appeared in the April 6, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.