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Vending machine filled with free crack pipes and Narcan empty just 24 hours after launching

Vending machine filled with free crack pipes and Narcan empty just 24 hours after launching

The vending machine is part of a public health initiative and has drawn mixed responses

A vending machine set up in New York City to give out free crack pipes, condoms and Narcan was cleared out within the first twenty four hours.

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene opened up the public health vending machine in Brownsville, Brooklyn, as part of a public health initiative.

As stated by Services for the UnderServed, the vending machines are an innovative, low-barrier strategy to reduce stigma and reach New Yorkers who may not already be connected to harm reduction services.

To access the machine, which contains condoms, crack pipes and Narcan - a overdose reversing drug - one needs to punch in the correct zip code.

Inside the machine, they'll also have access to sanitary pads, COVID-19 tests and nicotine gum.

But residents who lived near to the machine had mixed feelings about its installation.

The first public health vending machine was cleared out within twenty four hours.
Services for the UnderServed

One man who was firmly against the machine said to the Daily Mail: "That [the machine] shouldn’t be here. The resource building is right here. That is not are better off moving that gate and parking an ambulance right there."

However, another local had a different view, explaining: "People are just trying to get high, they’re not trying to die. We need this. Somebody was out here, doing their thing.

"'I had to stay out here to make sure she was okay. Everything is bootleg now. The drugs aren’t real anymore, and it doesn’t even burn right. Why are we smoking that anymore?"

The resident did admit to being a drug user, however, and remarked: "It depends on what kind it is. It depends on what you got. I’m mad that I didn’t even get to see the good stuff."

Tim Brady, 64, who lives across the street from the vending machine, said: "At first I was against it, but now I see where it takes preventive measures.

"I wish we could do more to prevent fentanyl and drugs from coming in, but they are here and we’re not going to be able to stop them.

The machine was set up in Brooklyn to serve those with addictions.
Services for the UnderServed

"So at least they can do what they’re doing and practice it safely. I’m not promoting it. I can’t say I like it. But I kind of like the message that it’s sending. It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation."

According to Brady, half of the residents living in the building next to the machine were 'strung out' on drugs.

Whilst the contents of the machine are free for users, it comes at a cost of $11,000 for the city's taxpayers.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said: "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.

"But we will continue to fight to keep our neighbors and loved ones alive with care, compassion and action. We’ll leave no stone unturned until we reverse the trends in opioid-related deaths in our city."

Featured Image Credit: Services for the UnderServed

Topics: Drugs, New York, US News