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Kansas installs its first naloxone vending machines, with more on the way

Hugo Phan

Vending machines have become one of the latest tools in the fight against the opioid crisis.

Kansas got its first of several free naloxone vending machines this week.

The machines were installed in Reno County and downtown Wichita; Douglas County already had one.

“If you feel like this is something that doesn't affect your life specifically, I ask you to think more as a community member in Wichita and be educated and be ready for an overdose at any time,” said Morgan Jennings with Safe Streets, who helped get the machine to Wichita.

Vending machines have become one of the latest tools in the fight against the opioid crisis. Residents can access the naloxone, a medicine designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, by simply inputting their ZIP codes on the machine’s keypad.

The machines are part of DCCCA’s statewide naloxone access program. The nonprofit agency also mails naloxone kits and fentanyl test strips toany Kansas resident for free.

“This is testimony to the power of collaboration,” Seth Dewey of the Reno County Health Department said in a statement. “We appreciate DCCCA and Healthy Blue of Kansas for their amazing display of compassionate community health.

“While we must utilize these partnerships and celebrate them, we cannot be lulled to a state of inactivity and continue to look for further opportunities to build power in our communities and step into the gap where progress can be made. This means being on the ground and on the streets making and producing meaningful change.”

Funding for the vending machines comes from several different sources, including a donation from the Healthy Blue initiative and state and local opioid settlement funds. Healthy Blue includes Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and of Kansas City.

Officials from DCCCA said that vending machines will also be placed in Wyandotte and Johnson County in northeast Kansas, but are examining data to determine where those machines should be located.

In southeast Kansas, Crawford County can also expect to see a naloxone vending machine in the area soon.

Once the machines are placed, residents can find their locations atdccca.org/naloxone-program.

Other areas of Kansas have created other means of distributing naloxone from a single location, like a vending machine.

CKF Addiction Treatment in Salinainstalled its own naloxone box late last year. In Topeka,a Save-a-Life station with naloxone, drug testing strips and drug rehabilitation information was installed recently not too far from the state capitol building.

Where you can find naloxone vending machines, boxes:

Reno County: Crossover Recovery Center – 400 W. Second Ave., Hutchinson

Sedgwick County: Second Chance/Big Fish Bail Bonds – 705 N. Broadway, Wichita

Salina: CKF Addiction Treatment – 617 E. Elm

Lawrence: Lawrence Transit Central Station – Bob Billings & Crestline Drive

Topeka: Save-a-Life station – northwest corner of 6th and Clay

Kylie Cameron (she/her) is a general assignment reporter for KMUW. Before KMUW, Kylie was a digital producer at KWCH, and served as editor in chief of The Sunflower at Wichita State. You can follow her on Twitter @bykyliecameron.