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Las Vegas to Offer Syringe Vending Machines for Users

Written by Dr. Daliah Wachs
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Las Vegas to Offer Syringe Vending Machines for Users IMAGE ABOVE FROM TYT
 

Multiple countries use vending machines that offer free syringes and needles to drug users, but this resource will be the first in the United States to help curb the spread of disease in IV drug users.

The machines will be offered and run by the Southern Nevada Health District, Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society and Trac-B Exchange.  Dr. Jerry Cade, who co-founded University Medical Center of Southern Nevada’s HIV clinic, said, “There’s zero downside and lots of pluses.”

Many health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend offering clean needles to users (200 sterile needles and syringes per drug injector per year).  Offering free needles has not been proven to incite or increase drug use, and “clean needles” will allow users, victim to their addictions, a safer way to inject without being exposed to HIV, hepatitis C and other blood borne pathogens.

Each kit is free and users can receive one twice a week.  Each kit contains the following:

  • 10 syringes

  • a tourniquet

  • a disposal container for used syringes

  • alcohol swabs to clean the skin prior to use

  • Bandages

  • an information sheet about where one could go for addiction treatment.

In order to use the machine, users must “register” without the requirement of giving personal information.  Once registered a card with a code is given that allows access to the machine.

The machines will be located at AFAN (Aid for AIDS of Nevada), the Community Counseling Center and Trac-B on West Charleston Blvd.

The initial steps could deter some from coming forward to use the machines, but many who use IV drugs WANT to get help and prevent further medical complications.  The outreach this provides, offering help to those who are addicted, is a huge step in our fight against heroin overdose and infectious disease spread.

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Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a Board Certified Family Physician. The Dr. Daliah Show , is nationally syndicated M-F from 11:00am-2:00pm and Saturday from Noon-1:00pm (Central) at GCN.