Naloxone / Narcan harm-reduction vending machines: Expanding Access to Life-Saving Medication

Posted November 1, 2023

Naloxone / Narcan harm-reduction vending machines: Expanding Access to Life-Saving Medication

The opioid epidemic has affected communities across the United States, leading to increased rates of overdose and death. Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan — is a safe, non-addictive drug that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose and has become a critical tool in combating this crisis through harm-reduction. However, access to Naloxone has been limited in many areas due to various factors, such as cost, stigma, and lack of knowledge. To address this issue, Naloxone vending machines have emerged as a strategy for widespread distribution of Naloxone.

Vending machines can be customized to provide Naloxone in a secure, organized, and stigma-free manner. The machines can be placed in various locations, including community centers, healthcare facilities, and public spaces, making it easier for people to access the medication when they need it. Additionally, Naloxone vending machines can be placed in the lobby of public libraries, jails, police stations, and mental health facilities, allowing visitors and the general public to access the medication, expanding the distribution of Naloxone in the greater community to aid in harm-reduction.

Naloxone vending machines have several advantages.

  1. They provide a discreet way for people to obtain Naloxone without the stigma often associated with addiction and overdose.
  2. Vending machines can be accessed 24/7, allowing individuals to obtain the medication when other resources may not be available.
  3. The machines can be customized to provide education and resources on overdose prevention and treatment through information displayed on the touchscreen and graphic wrap.

In addition to providing Naloxone, vending machines can also offer Fentanyl test strips. These strips can be used to test drugs for the presence of Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that has contributed to many overdoses. By providing access to Fentanyl test strips, vending machines can help people make informed decisions about drug use and potentially prevent overdoses. In this way, Naloxone vending machines with Fentanyl test strips can serve as a comprehensive tool for addressing the opioid epidemic and improving public health outcomes.

Naloxone vending machines have already been implemented in several cities across the U.S., including New York City, Detroit, Las Vegas, and San Diego. The machines are stocked with two doses of Naloxone and instructions on how to administer the medication. To support the implementation of Naloxone vending machines across the country, the US Government has provided grants such as SAMHSA grants and the Harm Reduction Program Grant. For more information on such grants, visit

While the use of Naloxone vending machines is still relatively new, they have the potential to make a significant impact in expanding access to life-saving medication. By providing a convenient, stigma-free way for people to obtain Naloxone, vending machines can help save lives and reduce the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic on communities across the United States

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