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Considerations for Naloxone Vending Machines

What are naloxone vending machines?

Vending machines are an innovative and effective way to distribute naloxone. Several overdose prevention programs in WA State provide naloxone and other harm reduction supplies through vending machines.

The content on this webpage is adapted from the webinar “Learn about Naloxone Vending Machines!” with content from Thea Oliphant-Wells of Public Health-Seattle & King County and Joseph Hunter of the North Central Accountable Communities of Health. We received additional input from Paul LaKosky at the Dave Purchase Project in Tacoma.

Key Considerations:

Before setting up a naloxone vending machines, there are many questions that a program should consider.

  • Vending machines are expensive, require electricity and maintenance, and need to be in a temperature regulated space. If you’re distributing a smaller amount of naloxone, or can’t easily maintain a machine, a basket or mailbox may be a better choice.
  • Machines should ideally be placed in areas with a high concentration of overdoses, low availability of naloxone, and that will reach people who are unlikely to access naloxone from other sources.
  • Choose a specific building that is:
    • Open to the public, especially during non-business hours.
    • Accessible by public transportation.
    • Welcoming and non-judgmental.
    • Equipped with Internet and a power source.
    • Managed by an organization with staff who can stock and monitor the machine.
    • Machines located outdoors require refrigeration and maybe heating.
  • What other organizations want to be involved?
  • What support can they provide (e.g., location, funds, naloxone, supplies, referrals)?
  • Design your overdose response kit: contents, labels, instructions.
  • Assembling kits takes time.
  • Other vending supplies could include fentanyl test strips, condoms, safer use supplies.
  • Confidential, no identifying information required.
  • Questions can be optional.
  • Some programs have participants take a brief survey to generate an access code.
  • Could access with a public use iPad, which adds costs and security issues.
  • Fixed may limit what can be distributed.
  • Adjustable gives you the option of changing your overdose supplies as needed.
  • Once your machine is set up there may be additional costs, such as, repairing the machine or updating it if you want to add new products.
  • You will need to budget for staff time to monitor the machine, to order supplies, and to keep the machine fully stocked.
  • Which vending machine company will you select?
  • Stigma against people who use drugs and against harm reduction can make it difficult to find a location.
  • Registration for using the machine can be a barrier.
  • These units will be useful in the correct setting, but what they lack is personal/individual engagement. Many individuals want or need that engagement, so consider how that missing factor will impact participants and try to mitigate for that. Supplies are necessary and good, but it’s the human connection that makes programs such a vital resource for people who use drugs.

Naloxone Vending Machine Webinar

Joseph Hunter from the North Central Accountable Communities of Health and Thea Oliphant-Wells with Public Health-Seattle & King County

Learn about Naloxone Vending Machines!

Watch the recordingDownload slides