A Vending Machine Dispensing…Life-Saving Narcan?

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, has unveiled a novel approach to neighborhood-level harm reduction: vending machined stocked with the anti-opioid medication Naloxone (or Narcan).

As State and local governments continue to grapple with the ongoing opioid crisis, broadened use of anti-overdose medications has become one tool to combat the worst outcomes of these medications and narcotics. Creating access to naloxone (or Narcan) without a prescription has widely expanded the use of the life-saving medication, as a “harm reduction” measure to increase the number of people with access to the easy-to-administer medication.

MACo has offered naloxone training (along with basic CPR training) to conference attendees in recent years, helping to empower many county officials to react in the event they witness an apparent overdose.

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, has put funds received through opioid settlements to try to further expand access to these medications, by using vending machines stocked with doses of the anti-overside agent.

From coverage in the Wisconsin Examiner:

“Death from overdose is a terrible crisis in our community,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley at a press conference Monday. “We are working to address this crisis with a multi-faceted approach across county departments.”

“The harm reduction vending machines are an important first step in deploying opioid settlement funds to prevent death from overdose,” Crowley added.

After speaking, Crowley signed a measure releasing millions of dollars to help support harm reduction strategies, including the vending machines, over the next three years. County officials say that currently there are no concerns regarding whether funding will run out after those three years.

Read the full article from the Wisconsin Examiner.

David C. Crowley on Twitter: “Today I signed a bill releasing $11M in opioid settlement funds to combat the opioid epidemic and unveil the first “Harm Reduction Vending Machine” in Milwaukee County- proving free access to harm reduction and prevention supplies. Full release here: https://t.co/aeT4MVrLk3 https://t.co/Boq13BYV59” / Twitter

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties