Otsego County has the first Narcan vending machine in New York

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 12:07 AM EDT
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ONEONTA (WBNG) - In Otsego County, having access to naloxone is now available with the touch of a few buttons.

The Oneonta location for Friends of Recovery of Delaware and Otsego Counties is the first in the state to have a Narcan vending machine. The machine came to the site roughly a month ago.

“I think there’s a lot of stigma and shame associated with a disease and having an opioid use disorder. Even though there’s life-saving medication that’s out there, I mean just being able to cross the barrier of OK I’ve got to walk up and ask this person,” said Program Manager Kyle LaFever for the Oneonta site.

To get to the point of a Narcan vending machine, this Otsego County location looked to a Michigan site for inspiration. “I called them up and asked who they bought the Narcan machine from,” said LaFever. “It’s just kind of a regular vending machine that just happens to be able to hold boxes or whatever it might be.”

LaFever said the State Opioid Response Grant has paid for the machine and the naloxone is free of charge. “If somebody comes in and they have insurance or something, we try to send them to the pharmacy. But many of these individuals don’t have insurance, don’t have the means to actually afford it so that medication is given for free.”

LaFever said before the machine’s installment, they gave out one or two kits a week. “Since installing the Narcan vending machine, we’re noticed the rate of about one Narcan kit a day,” he said.

If a surrounding county wants to do something similar, he said feel free to reach out. To make this vision a reality over in Oneonta, LaFever said it was a group effort with assistance from Jessica Bergeron, for example.

12 News reached out to the Addiction Center of Broome County’s Amanda Lewis to see if the county has a plan to offer something similar. “ACBC will have harm reduction vending machines in Broome County in the near future,” said Lewis in an email. “The vending machines will include Narcan, safe using supplies, hygiene kits for both men and women, etc. We are working with community partners on location of where vending machines can be located to meet client needs best.”

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