Undercurrent

SNHD adds new harm reduction vending machine to help those struggling with substance use

By: - November 21, 2022 1:19 pm

The newest is one of seven harm reduction vending machines in Southern Nevada. (SNHD photo)

The Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) Tuesday opened a new vending machine to curb public health concerns around substance use, including the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C and deaths by overdose. 

The newest vending machine, located at the SNHD’s main public health center at 280 S. Decatur Blvd., is one of seven throughout the Las Vegas Valley that offer sterile syringe kits, hygiene kits, wound care kits, hormone injection kits, safer sex kits, pregnancy tests and nasal naloxone, all at no cost to clients.

Southern Nevada harm reduction vending locations

  • TIM Care 916 W. Owens Ave., Ste. D, Las Vegas
  • Huntridge Family Clinic: 1830 E. Sahara Av., Las Vegas, NV
  • The Gay & Lesbian Community Center, 401 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas, NV
  • Center for Behavioral Health, 3050 E. Desert Inn, #116, Las Vegas, NV
  • Center for Behavioral Health, 3470 W. Cheyenne Ave., #400, North Las Vegas. NV
  • Southern Nevada Health District, 280 S. Decatur Blvd., Las Vegas, NV
  • 105 A Street, Hawthorne, NV

While Nevada was the first state nationally to install these vending machines leading other states, like New York, to implement the program, harm reduction vending machines have been used since the 1980s with much success. 

Earlier this fall, Nevada launched an opioid task force to help deal with the increase in fatal overdose deaths linked to the synthetic opioid, fentanyl.  

Opioids, which include prescription drugs and heroin, are associated with HIV risk behaviors like needle sharing and risky sex which have been linked to recent HIV outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“Sharing needles remains a common practice among those who inject drugs and leads to an increased number of people with HIV or other bloodborne infections,” District Health Officer Dr. Fermin Leguen said. “SNHD is proud to work with our partners in helping reduce the harmful effects of substance misuse.”

Trac-B/Impact Exchange Harm Reduction Program, which is the Las Vegas Valley’s only syringe services program, oversees the vending machines. The program was made possible by Nevada Senate Bill 410, which went into effect in 2013.

The other six machines are located at addiction treatment centers, community centers and primary care clinics.

SNHD’s location also offers free nasal naloxone and fentanyl test strips to the public. HIV tests are available by mail through Collect 2 Protect, an STI testing service operated by SNHD.

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Camalot Todd
Camalot Todd

An award-winning, investigative and enterprise reporter, Camalot Todd has over seven years experience in print, digital, radio and TV journalism. She covered mental and behavioral health in New York for Spectrum News 1 Buffalo through the national service program, Report For America, where she won the Mental Health Advocates of WNY Advocacy Award in 2020 for her coverage on mental health stigma. She also served as an inaugural member of the Report For America Corps Advisory Board Member, 2021-2022. Previously, she reported on community issues in Las Vegas, including a long-term project on underage sex trafficking, for the Las Vegas Sun and its sister publication, Las Vegas Weekly. For the Sun, she wrote a pathbreaking investigative piece called, “Children on the Cusp: The transition from foster care to adulthood is leaving some behind.” The piece won the Nevada Press Association best investigative story of the year and named Camalot the Best Community Reporter of 2017. She also worked as a reporter for KUNV radio and is a graduate of University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Camalot was selected for National Press Foundation Opioid and Addiction Fellow 2021 and led the Syracuse Press Club's Journalism Lab as an educator from 2021-2022.

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