Forsyth County health officials have added a vending machine at the county detention center that offers the overdose-reversing drug Narcan (Naloxone).
The vending machine dispenses boxes with two free doses of the fast-acting nasal spray that can prevent overdose deaths from opioids. Narcan is already freely available at the Forsyth County public health department.
Amanda Clark leads the Forsyth Regional Opioid & Substance Use Team. She says the location was chosen based on a 2018 study by University of North Carolina researchers that found people leaving incarceration were 40 times more likely to overdose than the general population.
"The most critical time is the first two weeks after they're released,” she says. “So we wanted to make sure we were doing something strategic to try and increase access to Narcan for folks who are incarcerated and leaving incarceration.”
Clark says dispensing the nonprescription drug through a machine means people can avoid any stigma associated with asking for it. She says one to two people overdose every day in Forsyth County.
Forsyth is one of five counties to get the machines. The others are Wilkes, Wake, Cumberland and Buncombe.