Narcan vending machine placed in detention center to help stop overdoses

PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – A detention center in Eastern Carolina has placed a free vending machine in its facility in the hopes of fighting a crisis that affects people all across the world.

The Pitt County Detention Center has placed a Narcan vending machine in its facility to help those that struggle with opioid addictions. Narcan is a medicine used to revive someone who has overdosed.

The medicine does not give people a high; rather it replaces the opioid that is causing the person to overdose, bringing them back.

The vending machine, available 24/7, was installed as a preventative method in the hope that fewer lives will be lost due to overdoses.

The detention center is also home to several substance abuse recovery programs.

Sheena Rambert, the jail’s system navigator, says the programs strive to help people outside of the jail’s walls too.

“Because we are a specialized unit, we work within the walls,” Rambert said. “This is an outreach to those that we can’t touch and we’d rather give some a restart to try again than to have no option at all.”

The vending machine is maintained by the Pitt County Health Department and was provided by grant funding.

Rick Morefield, a substance abuse counselor at Hakuna Wellness Center, says relapses happen often in recovery and the challenge with opioids is tolerance.

Morefield described the issue of relapsing, saying, “A little bit will give them much more effect than it did when they stopped using because their body built a tolerance to it. So now, you have somebody who has very low tolerance and relapsed and goes back to using the same amount they used to use and you have an overdose.”

Morefield also said that deaths from opioids this year have more than doubled in comparison to last year.

Jason Jackson, Pitt County Detention Center programs coordinator, said the impact of the vending machine will be huge.

“There are a lot of people who look for Narcan and can’t find it and there’s lots of places that charge for it. So now that we aren’t charging for it, it’s completely free to the public,” Jackson said. “You don’t even have to be exiting the detention center to use it. Anyone, if they want, can use it.”

The machine can be found in the magistrate office’s lobby at the detention center.

To find a machine or resources for your county, contact your local health department.

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