Orange County residents struggling with substance abuse can now access naloxone, which reverses opioid overdose, for free from a vending machine located at the county’s Detention Center.
The Orange County Detention Center is located at 1200 US-70 W in Hillsborough.
Seven counties have adopted naloxone vending machines in their detention centers. These machines hold Narcan kits — Narcan being a brand name for naloxone — which reverse opioid overdoses by slowing rapid breathing. This provides time for emergency responders to administer medical treatment.
The Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative grant funded the free administration of vending machines in North Carolina detention centers, as well as centers in other states. The National Center for State Courts served as the director for the RJOI.
The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition also collaborated with the organizations and communities by identifying and connecting local agencies with each other to install the machines.
According to recent studies from the American Public Health Association, those previously incarcerated are 40 times more likely to die from an opioid overdose within two weeks of release.
The NCSC pushed for vending machines to be installed in detention centers to target vulnerable post-incarceration individuals, NCSC Consultant Tara Blair said.
“Getting this life-saving medication into the hands of the people and the families of the people that are incarcerated and being released from jail was very important,” she said.
In 2021, 3,759 people died from opioid overdoses in North Carolina — 29 were from Orange County. During this time, Narcan kits reversed 4,154 overdoses, according to an Orange County press release.