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Vending Machines—A Surprising New Use for an Old Device

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2023
4 pages

This article describes the use of vending machines to distribute naloxone, educational materials, and other items to individuals in jails seeking help.


A recent innovation involving resource distribution has been the introduction of vending machines in jails that provide free naloxone, educational materials, and other items that can be used to assist individuals who are seeking help. Overdose is the leading cause of death for formerly incarcerated individuals reentering the community, and their overdose rates are significantly higher than those in the general population. As first responders, law enforcement officers have found new tools to help navigate overdose situations where there is a very narrow window for treatment. One tool, naloxone, is an effective countermeasure and is the primary opioid overdose reversal agent available. Given the risk of overdose, providing access to free naloxone to both those leaving jails and friends and family members visiting jails helps reduce the stigma of having to ask for the resource and is a great way to saturate the community with a valuable, lifesaving tool. Having witnessed the need for greater access to naloxone, more and more counties across the country are seeking out local jails and other locations as useful places to increase distribution through the use of vending machines.

Date Published: June 1, 2023