New York City’s first public health vending machine giving out free crack pipes, condoms and Narcan, an overdose-reversing drug, is already empty less than 24 hours after being unveiled by officials.
The machine in Brownsville, Brooklyn, is the first of its kind in the Big Apple. The city’s Democrats hailed it as a watershed, public health moment yesterday, calling a press conference to tout their initiative and promise more down the line.
To access the machine’s contents, residents simply need to punch in the right zip code. Then, they’ll have free access to the strips, Narcan, condoms, tampons, nicotine-gum, first aid kits and the ‘safer smoking kits’, sanitary pads, Vitamin C and COVID-19 tests.
Officials hope to put syringes in the next ones.
By 9am on Tuesday – less than 24 hours after it was first displayed – all of the crackpipes had been taken. Gone too were the condoms, the COVID-tests and the nicotine-gum. All that was left were a few fentanyl-testing strips.
All gone! The vending machine, that was installed just yesterday, was empty by Tuesday morning
Fully stocked 24 hours ago: New York City officials yesterday proudly unveiled their latest offering to residents – a free, safe drug-use vending machine dishing out crack pipes, the overdose-reversing drug Narcan and fentanyl test strips
A ‘safer smoking kit’ containing a heavy stem, mouthpiece, pusher, 6 screens, chore filter and lip balm for people wanting to smoke crack
Residents of the housing authority building where the machine was placed have mixed feelings about it.
One man, who declined to give his name but said he lived in the community, said after being asked if he would take anything from the machine: ‘That [the machine] shouldn’t be here. The resource building is right here.
‘That is not resources…you are better off moving that gate and parking an ambulance right there,’ he said.
Bushwich local Minoshi Caple, 56, was more in favor.
‘People are just trying to get high, they’re not trying to die. We need this. Somebody was out here, doing their thing.
Bushwich local Minoshi Caple, 56, is in favor of the machine. She’s shown retrieving her free fentanyl test kit today. ‘People are just trying to get high, they’re not trying to die. We need this!’ she told DailyMail.com
One woman, who lives in East New York and is visiting her son in the neighborhood, said that she purposely made her way to the vending machine on Tuesday to pick up supplies to help others. She said: ‘I’m going to help and assist them [drug users] with it. That’s what we do, help each other.’
‘I had to stay out here to make sure she was okay. Everything is bootleg now. The drugs aren’t real anymore, and it doesn’t even burn right. Why are we smoking that anymore?’
Caple, who lives a few blocks from the new vending machine, admitted that she is a drug user – and would have taken a crack pipe if there were one available.
The mom-of-six said about the drug pipes in the machine: ‘It depends on what kind it is. It depends on what you got.’
Speaking about the near-empty machine, she said: ‘I’m mad that I didn’t even get to see the good stuff.’
She then plugged in her zip code and took one of the remaining fentanyl-testing kits.
As she watched the machine drop her test into the base so she could pick it up, Caple muttered: ‘Come on baby.’
By 11:30am, the only products left were two fentanyl-testing kits.
Out of luck: Residents visited the machine today but couldn’t find the item they were hoping for
Elan Quashie, the Opioid Overdose Prevention Program Director, gave a demo to locals yesterday
Rose Meredith uses a new vending machine in Brooklyn that will dispense fentanyl test strips and naloxone as well as hygiene kits, maxi pads, Vitamin C, and COVID-19 tests
First aid kits containing Narcan and nasal spray are also on offer for free
As she retrieved her fentanyl test and the last remaining packet of overdose-busting drug Naloxone, she said: ‘It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful idea.
‘They should have this in every neighborhood.’
Tim Brady, 64, who lives in the apartment building across from the vending machine, said: ‘At first I was against it, but now I see where it takes preventive measures. I wish we could do more to prevent fentanyl and drugs from coming in, but they are here and we’re not going to be able to stop them.
‘So at least they can do what they’re doing and practice it safely. I’m not promoting it. I can’t say I like it.
‘But I kind of like the message that it’s sending. It’s unfortunate that we’re in this situation.’
He said ‘half the residents’ inside the building where the machine is were ‘strung out on drugs’.
The contents may be free for residents – but each machine will cost the city $11,000. It’s unclear how many are planned.
‘We are in the midst of an overdose crisis in our city, which is taking a fellow New Yorker from us every three hours and is a major cause of falling life expectancy in NYC,’ health commissioner Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said proudly yesterday.
Safe smoking kits, first aid kits, condoms, fentanyl test strips and Narcan are all on offer for free
‘But we will continue to fight to keep our neighbors and loved ones alive with care, compassion and action.
‘We’ll leave no stone unturned until we reverse the trends in opioid-related deaths in our city.’
But some city residents and Republicans are aghast that their tax dollars are being spent on facilitating drug use.
‘This, my friends, is another reason Democratic-run cities are hell holes!’ said one.
‘Get your free crack pipes courtesy of tax payers!! Insanity!!! NYC vending machine offers free Narcan, drug-test strips.’
‘What could go wrong?’ said another.
‘I guess no one eats candy bars anymore… Remember when Narcan was supposed to be used only by trained professionals?’ asked another jaded New Yorker.
‘These people are morons. They give away crack pipes, needles will be next, and Narcan.
‘How about just give away the Narcan and not the crack pipe and needles? another fumed.
Outrage: Many New Yorkers called it a waste of tax dollars
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