Easier access to Opioid overdose aid will save lives. Free vending machines stocked with Narcan and other harm reduction materials for those that need it are popping up all over the country, now they are making their first appearance in Alabama, in Walker County. Non-profit Project H.E.R.O. launched the state's first vending machine in partnership with the Town of Parrish. According to the organization's website it is located at the new Town Hall (6181 AL-269Parrish, AL).

Narcan is the brand name for the FDA-approved drug naloxone. It is used for the treatment of life-threatening opioid overdoses or suspected opioid overdoses. Opioids are a class of drugs that includes heroin as well as prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl.

Because the effects of Narcan only last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, it is important to seek medical care immediately after administering Narcan.

Project H.E,R.O. (with backing from Jubilee House) hopes providing Narcan in such a convenient way, at no cost, will encourage all people, whether they personally use substances or not, to carry the life-saving drug.

There were 1,408 drug overdose deaths in Alabama, 981 (70%) from Opioid abuse, in 2022 (the latest full-year statistics available from the Alabama Department of Public Health). Walker County alone has one of the highest rates of Opioid overdoses in the entire country.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Walker County has the 3rd highest rate of nonfatal opioid overdoses in the country, with the 5th highest percent increase in the entire U.S. (2023 CDC Report).

Due to the high numbers, Project H.O.P.E. plans to place other Narcan Vending in other locations across Walker County.

Emergency medical health experts believe installing Narcan Vending in such high Opioid use areas is an important asset in the country’s larger uphill fight in the opioid crisis, similar to having defibrillators in public places for heart attacks.

The Parrish Narcan vending machine fits in with the 2023 Annual Report of The Governor's Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council project committing to the distribution of Narcan, fentanyl test strips, and other opioid overdose reversal agents across the state. The council report adds, "At a time that fentanyl-laced drugs have become a major threat to not only the drug user but first responders who are exposed, it is critical to make reversal agents widely available."

The CDC identifies the following as signs that someone is overdosing: falling asleep or losing consciousness; a limp body; weak breathing; choking or gurgling sounds; cold and clammy skin; discolored skin; and “pinpoint pupils.”

The Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) offers free Narcan kits to anyone who completes their online training program.

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