Nevada installs device to “help combat” heroin epidemic

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Utilizing any innovation at its disposal, the city of Las Vegas plans to install vending machines that drop clean syringes.

Only available to those in the bubble of the Trac-B Exchange program, people seeking help through the Las Vegas Hard Reduction Center can scan a user card to receive clean syringes. Nevada is prepared to become the first state in the U.S. to implement such an initiative.

Speaking with KSNV, Chelsi Cheatom said “This is a harm reduction approach.”

“People are already exchanging in these behaviors, and anytime someone’s engaging in a behavior that could cause them some potential health side effects, we want to encourage them to reduce their risk of harm,” said the Trac-B Exchange program manager.

Scheduled to be released at the end of May, the vending machines were developed in coordination between the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society (NARES). The vending machines contain syringe kits, which include syringes, alcohol wipes, safe sex supplies, and a sharps disposal box. Users will be rationed at no more than two kits per week.

In a Wednesday statement, Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District said, “Providing clean needles and supplies is a proven method for limiting disease transmission in a community.”

Daniel Raymond, of the Harm Reduction Coalition said, “The debate over whether syringe exchanges are beneficial has long been settled. The issue now is more, what method is appropriate for my community?”

A report by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the vending machines can be seen below:

H/T: NBC News

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