Home World Naloxone vending machine unveiled at Pace Harvey bus terminal

Naloxone vending machine unveiled at Pace Harvey bus terminal

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South suburban officials announced Friday a vending machine at the Pace Harvey Bus Terminal will provide the opioid reversal nasal spray Naloxone

The vending machine cost $400 and will be stocked with Naloxone, a nasal spray administered to someone experiencing an opioid overdose, said Family Guidance Centers Chief Operating Officer Ron Vlasaty. There is no charge for taking a kit.

The Family Guidance Centers mobile unit, introduced last year, will come to the vending machine periodically to make sure it is fully stocked with Narcan, the brand name of Naxolone, Vlasaty said.

The mobile unit has passed out more than 5,000 Narcan kits and connected 5,000 individuals with resources for opioid addiction treatment within its first year, he said.

“The opioid overdose epidemic is ravishing our communities. The data from the south suburbs is absolutely alarming,” Vlasaty said. “FGC is proud to partner with Pace to offer Narcan, which is a life-saving overdose reversal resource in the effort to address the crisis.”

The vending machine will be outside the station, said Pace Executive Director Melinda Metzger, with the goal of including another vending machine inside the station.

“We’re grateful to Family Guidance Center for reaching out to us to offer this benefit to the community at large,” Metzger said.

From March 21, 2020 to May 29, 2020, during the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order, there were 122 opioid overdose deaths in southern Cook County, said Cook County Commissioner Monica Gordon, D-5th. Within those three months, Gordon said southern Cook County saw an increase of 82% in comparable deaths within the same time period in 2019.

Similar machines have been installed in St. Charles and at the Kane County sheriff’s office.

The need for Naloxone, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration, will help decrease the number of opioid overdose deaths, Gordon said.

“Today we stand united with a collective purpose to combat the alarming opioid crisis that has deeply impacted southern Cook County and the entire Chicagoland area,” Gordon said. “The opioid crisis is having dire impacts throughout the Southland and the urgency to address this public health emergency is clear.”

The opioid crisis affected her family, Gordon said, when about 15 years ago her uncle overdosed.

“I just can’t help to think that things would’ve been different if we had the resources that we have today,” she said.

State Rep. William Davis, D-30th, said the vending machines are a step forward toward helping people fight opioid addiction.

“Meeting people where they are is extremely, extremely important,” Davis said. “There is help here if you indeed need that help.”

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