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Naloxone vending machines hit Helena

Yellowstone Public Radio

Helena is the first city in Montana to install Naloxone vending machines.

As Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Worthington reports, the program makes Naloxone available to anyone who needs it free of charge… and free of questions.

Naloxone - also known as NARCAN - rapidly reverses an overdose of heroin, fentanyl, and opioid medications. Kelly McBride is the Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services for Lewis and Clark County. She said they made the decision to install the vending machines after studying the data on the misuse of opioids and fentanyl .

“Which is pretty rampant data shows across the state and starting to happen in Lewis and Clark County.”

McBride says since the machines were put in place in mid-March, they’ve had over fifty boxes taken.

“Yesterday we had a UPS driver stop and take three boxes. He said he just wanted to make sure he had it with him at all times. We’ve had family members stop and take it. It’s being taken advantage of and we’re glad to see that,” she states.

Yellowstone Public Radio

The three vending machines were paid for by a grant. The naloxone is provided by the state at no cost to the county. McBride says they have had a few people express disappointment with the county providing the overdose drug at no cost.

“Our response is every life is worth saving. It also provides us with the opportunity to point that person in the direction of treatment,” McBride said.

She encourages everyone in the community to have Naloxone on hand.

The Helena Naloxone vending machines are located in the Law and Justice Center, the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ reception area, and at Good Samaritan’s Our Place Drop-In Center.

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.