Blog: BCHD to Launch Narcan Vending Machine (5/28/22)

The Butler County Health Department will host an event at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to unveil a new resource that area officials say is much needed in our area.

The Butler County Health Department will have the state’s first self-serve Narcan vending machine.

“The Butler County Health Department will join a growing number of agencies and organizations across the United States offering free self-serve Narcan to the public,” according to a health department press release. “Narcan is a life-saving drug designed to block opioid receptors in the brain in an attempt to reverse an opioid overdose so that the individual can be resuscitated and assisted by a medical professional.”

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, between April 2020 and April 2021, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses increased from 56,064 people to 75,673 people, the BCHD continued. Missouri specifically saw a 15% increase in opioid-related overdose deaths.

“Communities that provide supports such as accessible Narcan see a positive impact on the lives of the people who live there,” officials said.

According to the Department of Health, US states with locations with Narcan vending machines include Philadelphia, New York, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky. On these sites, the vending machine is located in county jails and drug treatment agencies.

“(This makes) the acquisition of the Butler County Health Department a truly unique opportunity for our community,” officials said.

The vending machine will be in the main lobby of the Butler County Health Department.

“There will be no personally identifying information required to obtain the Narcan. A simple voucher accessible free of charge through the Department of Health will suffice, voucher recipients must be at least 18 years of age,” said the health department.

This project is not the health department’s first effort to bring Narcan to area residents. It’s just another avenue to get a needed item into the hands of those who need it, BCHD administrator Emily Goodin said, adding that the health department was approached by Missouri Highlands Health Care and that both had seen the need for it.

In January, BCHD spoke with Daily American Republic editor Samantha Tucker about their longtime CDC Overdose Data to Action program. It offers Narcan, as well as non-judgmental support for people struggling with addiction.

Sam shared in this article that Butler County recorded approximately 30 overdose deaths in 2021. All were caused by the opioid fentanyl, or fentanyl combined with methamphetamine.

In 2018, Butler County recorded 19 “drug-related deaths,” including seven in 2019 and at least 16 in 2020.

Narcan, an opioid overdose antidote, was administered by the Butler County Emergency Department 85 times in 2018 and 86 times in 2019, and more than 80 times in 2020, health officials have previously said. at the DAR, when discussing the rise in overdoses they’ve seen in recent years.

A tally provided to Sam by BCHD found that Missouri experienced 1,980 overdose deaths between March 2020 and March 2021, which is a 19.6% increase from the previous year. 1,470 of these deaths were related to opioids.

It is a sad but true fact that our region needs Narcan, along with the services provided daily by many addiction providers and support groups.

As we continue this fight together, Butler County is fortunate to have leaders stepping up to find new solutions and continuing to step forward to help.

The vending machine project was spearheaded through a partnership between BCHD administrator Emily Goodin; Amy Bland, BCHD Health Educator; and Lisa Martin, Missouri Highlands Medical RCOPR Project Director.

“They each worked tireless hours to bring this first-of-its-kind project to Missouri,” according to the health department.

Donna Farley is editor of the Daily American Republic and can be reached at [email protected]