In a bid to address the opioid epidemic, Chicago health officials have introduced five public health vending machines throughout the city. These vending machines are stocked with an array of necessities, including Narcan and drug testing strips, personal hygiene products, socks, and underwear. All items inside the vending machines are free.
The goal of these vending machines is to help Chicagoans struggling with opioid addiction. They have been introduced as part of a pilot program that brings life-saving supplies to public areas in neighborhoods with high overdose rates. According to Robert Banks, who lost his 22-year-old grandson to an opioid overdose, the measure helps him and others save lives. Banks works with a community outreach intervention project operated by the University of Illinois-Chicago and carries Narcan with him everywhere he goes.
The five vending machines are located at Uptown Library, Garfield Community Service Center, Harold Washington Library Center, 95th/Dan Ryan CTA station, and Roseland Community Triage Center. They aim to provide easy access to essential items for those in need. More information about the pilot program can be found on the city’s website.