There’s a new vending machine in town and it doesn’t sell Doritos or cookies. Instead, the Brownsville, Brooklyn machine is stocked with naloxone kits, fentanyl test strips, birth control packs and baggies containing tools for safer smoking of substances like crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin. And it’s all free: residents just have to enter their zip code and make a selection.
Designed to help reduce drug overdoes; people unwittingly taking deadly fentanyl; or citizens needing lifesaving help , it’s the first of its kind in New York
“This is more than just a vending machine – it’s a gateway to services and support and recovery,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is running the pilot program.
There are three more machines being planned — at a cost of $11,000 each — in areas suffering from overdose deaths.
“We’re very optimistic that this could expand beyond four,” he said. “This is not a be-all, end-all in our fight; this is one more arrow in a quiver, and we need lots of arrows in that quiver to respond to this ever-growing crisis. So I’d love to see this expand as far and as widely as possible, so that it’s available everywhere.”