Chicago health officials have recently introduced five public health vending machines throughout the city. These vending machines, which are part of a pilot program, contain a range of necessities including Narcan, drug testing strips, personal hygiene products and more. All items inside the vending machines are free of charge.
The goal of these vending machines is to assist Chicagoans struggling with opioid addiction. The vending machines have been placed in neighborhoods with high overdose rates as part of the pilot program. Robert Banks, who lost his 22-year-old grandson to an opioid overdose, stated that 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.
In addition to Narcan and drug testing strips, hygiene kits, socks and underwear are also available inside the vending machines. 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.
These vending machines 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.