Wayne Grove, Kentucky. — When someone overdose, every second counts, and to help save more lives, the Vine Grove Police Department has created a free Narcan vending machine; the first of its kind in the state.
Narcan is a nasal spray medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose within minutes. Only three days after the vending machine opened, all 42 doses had been taken.
“Each one distributes a package or two, most of the time just one, to everyone in our community, in fact, we have reports of someone from Fairdale being able to distribute it because it’s the only one in Kentucky machines,” Hardin County Chief Emergency Services Officer Bryce Schumat said.
With the help of behavioral health providers Communicare and the Lincoln Trail District Health Department, Vine Grove Police can make this happen.
“It’s proactive. We’re trying to have a positive impact on preventing adverse effects of overdose by being able to do something to help the public,” Schumat said.
Since January, Harding County EMS has responded to more than 200 overdose calls, 34 of which were ultimately fatal, Schumat said. However, one of the nasal sprays can bring that number down with just two sprays. That’s why easier access to the drug has the backing of public health leaders who helped secure state funding to pay for the vending machines.
“One of the big things we know, based on evidence and research, is that increased naloxone use helps reduce overdose deaths,” said Jennifer Osborne, health promotion manager for the Lincoln Trail District Health Board.
Osborne added she was delighted when the Vine Grove police chief offered to build a vending machine. Osborne mentioned that sometimes law enforcement and public health don’t always agree on harm reduction programs like handing out Narcans or needle swaps, but when they work together, it’s a win for everyone .
“Many times we’ve been at the scene of an overdose and the person isn’t breathing, they’re not breathing, and the sooner you think that the sooner you get that person to recover and respond and breathe, the less damage it does to the body,” Shuma said. Te said.
Both Shumate and Osborne agreed they would like to see more Narcan vending machines created in the state. While the machines were still empty on Tuesday, they expect more free Narcan doses to be replenished later this week.