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Racine County Public Health installs vending machine to combat overdoses

The Journal Times - 4/16/2024

Apr. 16—STURTEVANT — Racine County Public Health Division has installed a vending machine aimed at reducing opioid-related deaths at its Sturtevant office, 9531 Rayne Road.

The machine distributes Narcan, a medication used to reverse opioid overdoses, and fentanyl test strips at no cost.

Anyone is welcome to use the machine, regardless of where they live, according a release from RCPH.

The installation comes as Racine County reportedly saw "record high rates" of suspected opioid overdoses in 2023.

Last year, there were 175 suspected opioid overdoses reported, which was a 103% increase from 2022, according to public health officials.

Fentanyl is the most common opioid involved in overdose deaths, and the test strips available from the vending machine are a "quick and easy way" to check for the presence of fentanyl in other drugs, RCPH said.

Narcan, also known as naloxone, is a nasal spray considered "easy to use" to reverse the effects of an overdose.

"These two evidence-based tools are effective at preventing drug overdose and saving lives," the release said.

This is not the first vending machine installed in Racine County to help combat overdoses.

The City of Racine's public health department and RYDE Racine partnered to install a similar machine in December at the Corrine Reid Owens Transit Center, 1409 State St.

The Sturtevant vending machine is accessible to the public Monday through Friday, inside the public health department office's main entrance. A QR code on the machine provides instructions for how to use Narcan and fentanyl test strips, according to RCPH.

Narcan and fentanyl testing strips also are available at Behavioral Health Services of Racine County, 1717 Taylor Ave., and the City of Racine Public Health Department, 730 Washington Ave.

In the event of an overdose, call 911, administer Narcan and stay with the person until help arrives.


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