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Jackson County Jail vending machine stocked to save lives

Jackson County Jail vending machine stocked to save lives
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 6:12 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Vending machines usually dispense candy and soda, but not the one at Jackson County Jail. As part of a pilot program the jail’s vending machine dispenses Narcan, a drug used to save the life of someone who’s overdosing.

Everyday, five people in Michigan will die from an opioid overdose. However, a pilot program is trying to reduce those numbers by giving more people access to Narcan, without guilt, without shame and with discretion.

Gary Schuette is Sheriff of Jackson County.

“It’s open 24 hours a day,” Schuette said. “All they have to do is come to the west side entrance of the Wesley Street jail and punch in the number of the box they want.”

It’s not your typical vending machine. For starters, its free, but its what’s inside that’s important.

Read: Ingham County crash injures two, under investigation

Schuette said, “What is inside of here are Noloxone.”

Noloxone, also known as Narcan, is a nasal spray that is responsible for saving thousands of overdose victims from dying each year. People in Jackson can come and get Narcan anytime they need it. And Sheriff Schuette says they sometimes do.

“We keep a really close eye on it and make sure its well stocked,” he said.

The jail stocks the machine once a week with 300 doses, usually before the weekend. Sometimes they fill it twice if needed. The program is still in its infancy, but Sheriff Schuette thinks it’s helping.

These program has others considering getting their own. Julia Miller represents Punks With Lunch, an outreach group that gives Narcan to those who need it in Lansing.

“We’re trying to get one set up here, to be available its just a matter of were working out the logistics,” Miller said.

Both Miller and Sheriff Schuette say judgment is often what deters people from getting Narcan. But vending machines help.

Sheriff Schuette said, “If they come in and they get some Noloxone and they need it, they can walk out and nobody will bother them.”

The Jackson County Jail got the vending machine through a grant from Wayne State University. Sheriff Schuette said he hopes to see more of them in the future.

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