New York Installing Controversial Vending Machines With Free Syringes And Condoms
New York plans to place anti-overdose and safe sex vending machines around the city. Ten “public health vending machines” will be placed in various locations. The machines will carry sterile syringes, toiletries, and safe-sex kits. The items in the machines will be provided for free. The city hopes to have the machines placed in communities this year.
Michael McRae, Acting Executive Deputy Commissioner of the NYC Health Department said,
“This is really about expanding access to health and wellness services. Every four hours, there’s an overdose here. This is something that doesn’t allow for people to die every hour.”
The pilot program will cost approximately $730,000. Several priority neighborhoods have been identified to receive the machines, including Central Harlem and Union Square in Manhattan, Far Rockaway in Queens, Stapleton in Staten Island, and East New York in Brooklyn.
New Yorkers who use intravenous drugs are able to get up to 10 free syringes from pharmacies. The New York Department of Health's Expanded Syringe Access Program allows drug users to receive the new, sterile syringes with the goal of decreasing HIV and Hepatitis transmissions,
In 2000, the New York State Legislature changed the Public Health Law to authorize a demonstration program to expand access to sterile hypodermic needles and syringes. This is a public health measure to prevent blood borne diseases, most notably HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and hepatitis C. ESAP became effective January 1, 2001 and as of the summer of 2009, became a permanent program.
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