Update: A previous version of this article stated that Narcan nasal spray was carried in these machines, but a representative with Trac-B Exchange in Las Vegas has informed us that it’s actually the injectable/intramuscular version of the medicine.
To help prevent overdoses in Las Vegas, The Center for Behavioral Health (CBH) in Nevada has begun installing vending machines stocked with Narcan throughout the city. In effect, the medicine brings people back to life when they are in the midst of a potentially deadly overdose.
In addition to providing Narcan, the machines hold clean syringes and a container to dispose of dirty needles. The machines also provide other useful items like hygiene kits, safe sex kits as well as pregnancy tests.
“There are numerous kits inside those machines. Narcan is becoming more readily available in Nevada, it’s being used more often, and we see a lot of reversals of overdoses,” Krista Hales of the CBH said.
The kits are free, but only available to people who have registered with the CBH’s needle exchange program. After signing up for the program, participants receive a card giving them access to the vending machines.
Only three vending machines have been set up in the area so far, but CBH hopes the program will soon expand.
New vending machines in the Las Vegas valley are intended to help fight the opioid addiction in Southern Nevada. More >> https://bit.ly/2JLvOIY
Posted by KTNV Channel 13 Action News on Thursday, March 28, 2019
Heroin is currently one of the most damaging drugs on the face of the planet. Many Americans have lost friends, loved ones and family members to heroin addiction, leading people to repeat “something must be done” to stop it.
Sadly, that something usually comes in the form of fines, arrests, prison time and other police state tactics. However, these commonly used tactics have yet to show significant results. Drugs have become dirtier and more dangerous, the black market has become more violent, and prison time associated with drug offenses has continued to climb.
Heroin addiction is a serious problem, but as counter-intuitive as it sounds, many believe the best way to prevent heroin overdoses is to legalize it. Countries, like Portugal, that have decriminalized all drugs, experience fewer overdoses than countries continuing to cling to prohibition. The Washington Post reported that drug overdoses are extremely rare in Portugal, a country with some of the lowest rates of addiction in the world.
Critics of legalization and decriminalization fear that drugs would be out of control and rates of addiction would skyrocket, but modern examples show this is simply untrue.
Currently, under the state of prohibition that most of the world experiences, the treatment and assistance that addicts receive is severely limited and used mostly to punish via highly regulated inpatient and outpatient programs. In an environment of prohibition, the strategy is punishment instead of harm reduction, which is more humane, realistic and effective way of handling serious social problems like heroin addiction.
Examples of harm reduction tactics include needle exchange programs, easy access to drug testing kits at events like raves, and supervised safe injection sites. Teaching condom use for sexual education, instead of abstinence is another example of how harm prevention can be successfully applied to important social issues.
While ideas like safe injection sites and easy access to Narcan are controversial to some, the fact remains that some people will continue to use these drugs regardless of their legal status and potential consequences and it is far better for them, and society as a whole, if it is done safely.
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