The vending machine launched by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the first of its kind for the city and will be operated by Services for the Underserved. Similar machines have “demonstrated success” in Europe and Australia, the health department said.
“This public health vending machine will be a game-changer for this part of East Brooklyn. With it, we can provide free and easy access to life-saving tools that prevent overdoses, infections, and other health risks associated with substance use. The machine also provides essential items that can improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers, regardless of their income, insurance, or housing status,” said Perry Perlmutter, Interim President & CEO at Services for the UnderServed.
Anyone who enters a New York City ZIP code followed by the number listed below the product they want can use the vending machine.
The number of overdoses in New York City seemed to be a catalyst for implementing the vending machine.
“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,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “But we will continue to fight to keep our neighbors and loved ones alive with care, compassion and action. 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.”
According to the health department, overdose deaths in New York City have reached historically high levels. There were 1,370 confirmed overdose deaths in the first half of 2022 and 2,668 overdose deaths the year prior. In 2021, fentanyl was involved in 80% of all overdose deaths.
The vending machine is part of the health department’s goal to reduce overdose deaths by 15% by 2025. The health department plans to install three more of the vending machines in different neighborhoods across the city.
The vending machine is located outside of a supportive housing facility at 1676 Broadway in Brooklyn.