Las Vegas has become the first city in the United States to provide vending machines for clean needles. At least for now though, the machines are not available everywhere. They are accessible only to clients of the Trac-B Exchange which is a program run by the Las Vegas Hard Reduction Center. Interestingly, the machines do not accept money, but instead IV drug users use a card that is scanned and a unique ID number. They then have access to the colorful wrapped boxes in the machine.
In an interview with NBC Las Vegas affiliate KSNV Chelsi Cheatom, the program manager for Trac-B Exchange said, “This is a harm reduction approach. People are already exchanging in these behaviors, and anytime someone’s engaging in a behavior that could cause them some potential health side effects, we want to encourage them to reduce their risk of harm.” The Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society worked in conjunction with the center on the new exchange program. The machines are scheduled to be ready at three different locations by the end of May. Each dispensed box contains syringes, alcohol wipes, safe sex supplies, and a sharps disposal box. Client will be limited to two kits a week each. Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer of the Southern Nevada Health District, said in a statement, “Providing clean needles and supplies is a proven method for limiting disease transmission in a community.” Even though Nevada is the first state in the US to offer such a program, the syringe vending machine model has been in use for several years in parts of Europe, Puerto Rico, and Australia. State authorities hope that these vending machines will encourage people to use clean needles for IV drug use. Dirty shared needles are a major factor the transmission of infectious disease like Hepatitis C or HIV. Oceanfront Recovery is located in in Southern California in beautiful and sunny Laguna Beach. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please contact one of our professional and compassionate team at 877-296-7477 to begin the journey of recovery today.