Brooklyn, NY – The Big Apple introduced its first free health vending machine on Monday, touting their contents of lifesaving meds for opioid overdoses, safe sex kits, and clean crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia.
The first such vending machine was set up in Brooklyn but it’s free for any resident of New York City who wants to help themselves, FOX News reported.
In lieu of the typical snacks and sodas found in regular vending machines, the new city-owned blue boxes will contain potentially-lifesaving Naloxone for drug users who have overdosed on heroin, fentanyl, or other opioids.
The kits will come with instructions on how to use them, FOX News reported.
The machine also has safe sex kits and hygiene kits free for the taking for anyone with a New York City zip code.
Big Apple officials unveiled a street vending machine
NYC vending machines cater to drug users with free crack pipes, lip balm — and Narcan for ODs pic.twitter.com/kkb670LYJX
— Lawyerforlaws (@lawyer4laws) June 6, 2023
City officials said they copied similar machines used in the United States, Europe, and Australia after cities reported they were effective at reducing the rate of overdoses, FOX News reported.
“We are in the midst of an overdose crisis in our city, which is taking a fellow New Yorker from us every three hours and is a major cause of falling life expectancy in NYC,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a statement announcing the free health care vending machines.
“But we will continue to fight to keep our neighbors and loved ones alive with care, compassion and action,” Vasan continued. “Public health vending machines are an innovative way to meet people where they are and to put life-saving tools like Naloxone in their hands. We’ll leave no stone unturned until we reverse the trends in opioid-related deaths in our city.”
Overdose rates in the Big Apple have hit historic highs, FOX News reported.
Advocates also said the new machines will save hundreds of first responder hours if police and EMS don’t have to go to as many overdose calls.