NEW YORK, NY – Amid a wave of rampant crime and drug use, New York City health officials have installed a vending machine in Brooklyn on Monday that offers free crack pipes, condoms, and anti-overdose medications such as Narcan, with the machine proving so popular among local addicts that its inventory was exhausted overnight.
After the large blue vending machine was installed on Monday, a worker was seen replenishing its contents Tuesday afternoon, including drug paraphernalia and contraceptives; the machine reportedly has sensors installed that send out an alert when it’s stock of illicit free goods is low and requires replenishment.
In addition to the Brooklyn-based vending machine, three additional machines will be installed in neighborhoods that have had the most issues with drug use, according to officials, and will be maintained and serviced by a nonprofit group known as Serving the Underserved (S:US).
S:US Representatives claim that making crack pipes and safe sex kits available will help to reduce the frequency of infectious diseases and drug overdoses in these troubled neighborhoods.
“We want to ensure that the public health vending machine has a net positive benefit on the surrounding community,” a S:US spokesperson said. “Our outreach staff will continue to work closely with the community to ensure this tool is helpful in bringing New Yorkers into care, and supporting their recovery, as is the goal of all harm reduction tools.”
Fatal overdoses in New York City have been escalating in recent years. In 2021, there were 2,668 overdose deaths in the metropolis, with 84 percent of those deaths being the result of an opioid. Based on data collected so far for 2022, there were 1,370 overdose deaths in the first half of the year; as more data is collected, it could put 2022 on track to being the deadliest year ever in NYC as far as overdoses are concerned.