A new vending machine at Peer Kent.
With the threat of fatal overdose from fentanyl, we want everyone in King County to have access to tools to help reduce the risk of overdose in our community. Naloxone, to reverse an overdose, and fentanyl test strips are two of the most important tools to help prevent fatal overdoses.
In the past year, King County has been working with community organizations to expand access to both tools—resulting in the distribution of more than 100,000 fentanyl test strips and more than 13,000 naloxone kits. As part of this outreach effort, Public Health is working to reduce overdose prevention supplies by not only ordering online, but placing supplies in easily accessible vending machines.
Several months into the program, we can see how reducing barriers to harm reduction offers can be a way to engage people at risk of overdose and connect them with support providers.
About vending machines
In April 2022, Public Health worked with a local community organisation; Equivalent Washington What works Equivalent to Seattle And Pear Kent will place vending machines at their locations to provide access to free, confidential overdose prevention supplies and resources. Peer provides safe, welcoming spaces for people to find support and health resources. The vending machines are stocked with naloxone, fentanyl test strips, as well as condoms and other safe sex supplies.
“There is something special about being able to provide immediate life-saving drugs for free. Our members face long journeys to recovery or housing and employment, so providing a resource that provides immediate relief goes a long way. Shannon French, volunteer at Peer Seattle.
From April 2022:
- More than 4,000 fentanyl detectors were distributed through the vending machines.
- More than 1,000 naloxone kits were distributed through the vending machines.
- Risk of drug overdose in King CountyThe sites in both Seattle and South King County help reduce geographic barriers to harm reduction equipment.
Access to people who previously had no access
In addition to testing as a tool to inform community members about what might happen in a particular drug, distributing fentanyl test strips and naloxone in vending machines provides an opportunity to engage people in conversation to reduce risk and connect people to resources. Information on how to get care and treatment.
Initial findings from the first six months of this program show that nearly 40% of people who use the vending machines have not received naloxone before — meaning we’re reaching a lot of new people.
For example, an employee from Pear Kent shared the story of a couple who came to Pear for fortune.
“They sat in the lobby and saw a Narcan machine and we started talking about how their lives had changed since they switched from using heroin to fentanyl. I understand that neither of them has ever used naloxone before. I walked them through getting the kit and showed them how to use naloxone. A few weeks later, the woman came in to see me and informed me that she had used Narcan on her significant other and saved his life from an overdose. Following his hospitalization, both underwent detox and were recently released.”
Resources for Finding Naloxone and Fentanyl Test Kits in King County
Order naloxone online:
- If you are a resident of King County, Order online Free naloxone shipped to any address. It arrives in a clear packaging to protect your privacy.
- If you are a Washington state resident with a mailing address outside of King County; Use this online order form. You can also find it near you Naloxone detector.
- If you would like to receive training to administer Narcan in an overdose emergency, you can learn about training options here www.stopoverdose.org
Order informational materials and fentanyl tests from Public Health over here.
Originally published on 4/13/2023.
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