A new technology has brought overdose-reversing naloxone vending machines to San Diego jails. The machines, developed by the Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego, are equipped with interactive touch screens that dispense naloxone and fentanyl test strips for free. The machines are placed in the lobbies of four detention facilities and serve the population most at risk of overdose, including those exiting incarceration and their visitors. The machines are the first of their kind in the United States and cost $14,000 each, with a monthly fee of $2,500 that covers maintenance and service.
The Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego, a nonprofit organization working to reduce the harm associated with drug use, has introduced a new technology that brings overdose-reversing naloxone vending machines to San Diego jails. The machines, which resemble regular vending machines, are equipped with interactive touch screens and are placed inside the lobbies of four detention facilities: Las Colinas, George Bailey, Vista, and the East Mesa reentry facility. They dispense naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, as well as fentanyl test strips.
The vending machines are designed to be easy to use, and users are prompted to create an avatar instead of having to remember a PIN. The machines also collect basic, non-identifying data, such as age, gender, and number of visits, to help harm reductionists target their efforts. According to Amy Knox, the COO of the Harm Reduction Coalition, the machines serve the population most at risk for overdose, including those exiting incarceration and their visitors.
The machines were sourced from Canada, and Knox says they are the first of their kind in the United States. The company established a U.S. corporation to sell the machines to her, which has opened the door to spreading the technology nationwide. Knox said that the Washington State Health Care Authority has already expressed interest in the machines.
According to Knox, the machines cost $14,000 each, which is only $1,500 more than a standard vending machine. There’s also a monthly fee of $2,500, which includes maintenance, service, and a replacement every three years. Knox believes that the vending machines are a cost-effective solution, as they are cheaper than hiring a part-time worker.
Knox dreams of seeing these machines everywhere, stocked with a wider variety of harm reduction and medical items, such as clean needles, drug pipes, and pregnancy tests. However, she acknowledges that in order to make that dream a reality, her team first has to end the stigma against harm reduction.