CHICAGO — Chicago is trying to make it easier for people to get a lifesaving drug — for free.
Five vending machines have been strategically placed throughout the city and will carry Narcan, the drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.
The pilot program was funded by the CDC with a $17 million grant to distribute vending machines across the city. The machines will hold more than just Narcan including hygienic products including socks and undergarments.
People will need access to a private pin and can get whatever they want for free. However, the pin to receive Narcan is only ‘1234’ because of the short window to receive medication for someone who has overdosed.
The machines are located in five areas, th Garfield Community Center, Uptown and Harold Washington Libraries, the 95th Red line station and the Roseland Community Center.
The Chicago Public Health said locations are based on where more overdoses happen.
“There is a crucial need for these vending machines as our city continues to battle the opioid epidemic, ” mayor Brandon Johnson said.
Doctors with RUSH Unversity Medical Center demonstrated using the mayor and a mannequin to show how easy Narcan is to use. If you believe someone has overdosed, you stick the plastic tube into a nostril and push the plunger.
The medication can work as quickly as 30 seconds and can take as long as a few minutes.
Doctors also say when someone is coming out of an overdose, they could feel pain or even get aggressive but will be alive.
“The research is clear harm reduction works and every single od death is preventable,” acting commissioner of the CDPH Fikrte Wagaw said.
This program will run for a year. City leaders say they will take a look at what is being use and where, if more is needed throughout the city.