SAN DIEGO – A dozen new vending machines soon will be installed throughout San Diego County that will distribute the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone, officials said Wednesday.
The county expects to have half of those machines placed in “strategic locations” by the end of the year, said Dr. Nicole Esposito, the county’s chief population health officer. The rest are slated to be installed within six months of that with the goal of distributing some 33,000 naloxone kits to the community by June 30, 2023.
“Naloxone is a proven lifesaver in overdose situations and San Diego County Behavioral Health Services and its partners are working hard to expand access,” Esposito said.
They’re not the first in the country to deploy such a tactic.
Similar machines are found in cities across the U.S., including in Philadelphia and New York City as well as in Indiana, Michigan and Washington state, among others. They were lauded by New York public health officials for providing access to the drug “to the people who need it the most, where they’re already at, on their schedule and on their timeline, and without the stigma or shame,” the New York Times reported.
In California, the state’s Department of Health Care Services operates the Naloxone Distribution Project, which began in 2018. In that time, the project has distributed more than 1 million units of naloxone and tallied more than 57,000 overdose reversals, the agency’s website shows.
Eligible organizations can submit applications to utilize the project’s services by clicking or tapping here.
Locally, everyone with access to the machines will have to complete an online training session before being able to use them, Esposito said.
Details of what that training includes were not disclosed, though a 2019 session posted by the county walks viewers through the signs of a suspected overdose and details how people can use the drug to respond before paramedics arrive.