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Tags: drugs | crack | pipe vending machine | nyc | mental health

N.Y. Vending Machine Offers Free Crack Pipes

By    |   Tuesday, 06 June 2023 03:36 PM EDT

A public vending machine for addicts was unveiled Monday by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, suggesting the answer to overdose deaths is "24/7 access to lifesaving harm reduction supplies."

Those supplies provided by Services for the Underserved (S:US) include crack pipes, lip balm, Narcan, hygiene kits, and safer sex kits, the New York Post reported.

"We are in the midst of an overdose crisis in our city, which is taking a fellow New Yorker from us every three hours and is a major cause of falling life expectancy in NYC," NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan wrote in a statement. "But we will continue to fight to keep our neighbors and loved ones alive with care, compassion, and action. Public health vending machines are an innovative way to meet people where they are and to put life-saving tools like naloxone in their hands.

"We'll leave no stone unturned until we reverse the trends in opioid-related deaths in our city."

S:US will oversee the vending machine's operation at 1676 Broadway in Brooklyn, outside of a supportive housing facility run by the organization. The machine was already out of stock.

Among the items offered are test strips for drug users to see if their stash contains fentanyl, "Safer Smoking" kits with a steam crack pipe and lip balm that can be used by crack and crystal meth smokers.

Also available are condoms, tampons, nicotine gum, and first-aid packages, the Post reported.

"Yes, I love it," drug user Evelyn Williams told The Post while standing at the vending machine in Brownsville, Brooklyn, on Tuesday. "They put it in yesterday, and it’s empty already.

"We have a lot of addicts and heroin users over here. They should re-stock it immediately!"

While the items will be free to the users, they will cost $11,000, according to the report.

"This is an important arrow in our quiver," Vasan said at a news conference, according to the Post. "It's not the be-all and end-all solution, but it's an important tool that says to New Yorkers, 'Hey, we are going to bring the tools that saves lives to you.' "

Anyone can use the machine — individuals will simply enter their New York City ZIP code followed by the numerical code listed below the product. Instructions and contact information for support will be posted on the machine in English and Spanish.

Overdose deaths in New York City have reached historically high levels, according to the NYC Health Department. In 2021, there were 2,668 overdose deaths in NYC, compared with 2,103 in 2020. In 2021, 84% of overdose deaths involved an opioid. Fentanyl, a highly potent opioid, was involved in 80% of all overdose deaths. There were 1,370 confirmed overdose death in the first half of 2022. If current trends continue, 2023 will be the deadliest year on record for overdose.

"This public health vending machine will be a game-changer for this part of East Brooklyn," S:US President and CEO Perry Perlmutter said. "With it, we can provide free and easy access to life-saving tools that prevent overdoses, infections, and other health risks associated with substance use. The machine also provides essential items that can improve the quality of life of all New Yorkers, regardless of their income, insurance, or housing status.

"By installing machines like this one in strategic locations, we are fulfilling our commitment to reducing harm, promoting wellness, and supporting recovery for our most vulnerable communities."

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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A public vending machine for addicts was unveiled Monday by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, suggesting the answer to overdose deaths is "24/7 access to lifesaving harm reduction supplies.
drugs, crack, pipe vending machine, nyc, mental health
573
2023-36-06
Tuesday, 06 June 2023 03:36 PM
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