Five vending machines filled with naloxone — a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses — are now installed and ready to use in medical clinics across Cleveland. Their use is part of an effort to increase public access to supplies to reduce drug deaths.
The news comes a few months after a county board received state money to install the machines.
The vending machines are the result of a partnership with the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, the Centers/Circle Health, Murtis Taylor Human Services System and the MetroHealth System, according to a press release. The machines’ contents are free, and four of the machines will carry other items such as safe-sex kits, wound-care products and containers for sharp objects.
The vending machines are in five locations:
- The Centers/Circle Health, 12201 Euclid Avenue
- The Centers Gordon Square, 5209 Detroit Avenue
- The Centers East, 4400 Euclid Avenue
- Murtis Taylor, 13422 Kinsman Road
- MetroHealth Main Campus, 2500 Metrohealth Drive
The machines are being installed at a time when deaths from opioids continue to surge in Cuyahoga County. According to an October report from the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner, more than 400 people have died from heroin, fentanyl and opioids over the year. More than 60 have died from cocaine. In 2021, the county saw more than 675 overdoses, an increase in the number of deaths from the previous three years.
Scott Osiecki, CEO of the ADAMHS Board, said that while he doesn’t condone the use of drugs, the effort is a way to save lives.
“It is important for the community to know that mental illness and addictions are biological brain disorders that require treatment,” Osiecki said in a news release. “We want people to have that chance to get treatment, to live in recovery, and that is why we continue to expand harm reduction tools.”
The ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County received $1.14 million in state funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to increase harm-reduction efforts, a public health strategy aimed at preventing drug-related deaths and offering access to resources, healthcare services and treatment.
The money was also used to purchase more than 400 emergency naloxone weatherproof boxes mounted on walls that will contain Narcan and Kloxxado, nasal-spray medications that also help reverse opioid effects. The boxes will be placed across the county in public and private spaces, in building bathrooms or outside community buildings where overdoses are likely to occur. The ADAMHS Board is contracting with MetroHealth’s Office of Opioid Safety, the department in charge of installing, monitoring and tracking the use of these cases.
“Providing the community with 24/7 access is an important part of turning the tide on this epidemic, which has caused so much pain for our families, friends and neighbors,” said Dr. Joan Papp, Medical Director of MetroHealth’s Office of Opioid Safety in the news release.
Recovery from addiction is possible. For help, please call the free and confidential treatment referral hotline (1-800-662-HELP), or visit findtreatment.gov.