Global News Canada: Harm reduction vending machine now in Winnipeg’s north end

UC professor discusses successes of Cincinnati program being replicated in other communities

The University of Cincinnati's Daniel Arendt spoke with Global News Canada about the benefits of free harm reduction vending machines being implemented in Hamilton County, Ohio, as a similar machine has been launched in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

“There’s actually really good evidence to suggest participants who engage with programs like this end up being much more likely to enter substance use treatment, they’re much more likely to cease injecting and putting themselves at risk for blood borne pathogens, as well as reach out to us and connect with other harm reduction services,” said Arendt, assistant professor in UC’s James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy and co-chair of the pain stewardship committee for UC Health.

Harm reduction vending machines are becoming more common across the country and internationally after a program run by Cincinnati nonprofit Caracole in partnership with Interact for Health and the University of Cincinnati launched one of the first vending machines in the United States in 2021. Global News Canada reports the machine implemented in Winnipeg is stocked with items including clean needles, naloxone, a medication that can rapidly reverse an opioid overdose, general hygiene items, snacks, water and socks.

“We know that the need is there. We know that there are folks out there using drugs and maybe not using clean needles, and so we want to provide that in a really a low-barrier way where they can come and get those things without even having to ask,” said Stephanie Ens, executive director of NorWest CO-OP Community Health where the machine is set up.

Read or watch the Global News Canada story.

Read more about the Caracole/UC vending machine project.

Featured photo at top of bottles of injectable naloxone. Photo/iStock/PowerofForever.


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