In order to help prevent fentanyl overdoses and lower the death toll in Northeast Ohio, the Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) board are to install Narcan vending machines throughout Cuyahoga County in the upcoming week.
In the next week, the board is rolling out five Narcan vending machines across Cleveland and is also working on putting more than 400 weather-resistant Narcan cabinets in public parks in the near future.
The vending machines, purchased with $1.2 million dollars of opioid response funding, contain fentanyl test strips, Narcan, and information about drug abuse. People in need can simply punch in a code and get what they need free of charge.
“We don’t condone drug use but we want to make sure people are alive in order to get the help they need,” ADAMHS Board CEO Scott Osiecki said.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Narcan – known generically as naloxone – is an opioid antagonist medication that is used to reverse an opioid overdose caused by drugs including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid medications. Narcan is a relative of morphine and has been used as a “rescue drug” for overdoses since the early 1960s.
According to Dr. Daniel Colby with the UC Davis Department of Emergency Medicine, time is of the essence when someone is going to overdose, so he carries Narcan on him at all times.
“Those who have ingested or injected fentanyl have minutes, maybe just moments to live. I carry the antidote with me all the time, Narcan,” Colby said.
According to ADAMHS, fentanyl is the leading cause of drug overdose in Cuyahoga County.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health states that 657 deadly drug overdoses were reported last year. ADAMHS aims for the death toll to be zero by implementing these Narcan vending machines.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. In most adults, the DEA notes, a 2-3 milligram dose is fatal. The powerful drug is also made and used legally by prescription.
Throughout the state, harm-reduction vending machines are becoming a sought-after way to prevent harm and death from drug use.
Residents of Brown County, Ohio have access to a harm-reduction vending machine outside the Brown County Mental Health and Addiction Services offices in Georgetown. Staff implemented the machine in February 2022. Statistics show that from implementation to April 30, 2022, 22 packages of Narcan were dispensed.
Caracole, in Cincinnati, operates the harm-reduction vending machine at its Northside headquarters. Since its implementation in 2021, the vending machine has dispensed 600 Narcan products.
“We have provided life-saving supplies for persons who use drugs 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Caracole CEO Linda Seiter said regarding the ready availability of the product.
In central Ohio, the Franklin County commissioners and Columbus Public Health are partnering in a prevention vending pilot program as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce overdose deaths and prevent other drug-use health risks. The county plans to host two prevention vending machines in the 43223 ZIP code sometime next year.
The Cleveland Narcan vending machines will be available next week at the following locations:
- 12201 Euclid Avenue
- 5209 Detroit Avenue
- 4400 Euclid Avenue
- 13422 Kinsman Road
- 2500 Metrohealth Drive
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