The opioid overdose rescue drug Narcan will now be available in a series of vending machines in Las Vegas.
Medical officials in Sin City announced this week that they are combating the opioid epidemic by making it easier for people to access the drug that can rapidly stop an overdose and allow a person to receive medical treatment. As KTNV reported, officials are offering a variety of life-saving and preventative items at the vending machines, including safe sex kits and personal hygiene kits.
They will also sell syringes so that drug users will not need to share needles, decreasing the risk of acquiring HIV and other blood-borne diseases.
“There are numerous kits inside those machines,” said Krista Hales works of the Center for Behavioral Health.
“The main goal of them was to be dispensing clean syringes for people who are engaging in intravenous or intra-muscular drug use.”
The drug Narcan has spread rapidly in areas of the country hit hard by the opioid epidemic. Many police departments now carry the drug to treat people who have suffered overdoses, and in the hardest-hit areas, they have even trained employees in some stores where people have been known to use heroin. In parts of Massachusetts, for example, some employees of Dunkin Donuts are trained to use the drug to help people who suffer overdoses in the doughnut chain’s bathroom.
Narcan does not reverse an overdose, but it can temporarily block the receptors that uptake opioids, stopping the effects long enough for the person to be taken to a hospital to seek treatment.
Las Vegas and Southern Nevada have seen a surge in the number of overdose deaths. Earlier this month, First Lady Melania Trump even visited Las Vegas to hold a town hall meeting on the epidemic, and the White House shared some stats about the rise in overdose deaths related to the drug.
“The United States is by far the largest consumer of opioids, using more pills per person than any other country in the world. In fact, overdose deaths have quadrupled since 1999 and now account for the majority of fatal drug overdoses,” she said during the visit.
“These overdoses are being driven by a huge increase in addiction to prescription painkillers, heroin, and now, fentanyl. No part of our society or our country has been spared from the deadly disease of drug addiction.”
Those who want to use the Narcan vending machines will need to register for the syringe exchange program first and will be given a specially programmed card that allows them to use the machine, KTNV reported.