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American News Jan 2, 2022 6:05 PM EST

NYC to install vending machines that dispense clean needles, Naloxone for drug users 'disproportionately burdened by overdoses'

"Racial equity does not mean simply treating everyone equally, but rather, allocating resources and services in such a way that explicitly addresses barriers imposed by structural racism (i.e. policies and institutional practices that perpetuate racial inequity) and White privilege..."

NYC to install vending machines that dispense clean needles, Naloxone for drug users 'disproportionately burdened by overdoses'
James Anthony Montreal QC

A pilot program in New York City will install 10 "public health vending machines" (PHVMs) at selected locations throughout the city for drug users who are "disproportionately burdened" by overdoses, according to a new report.

Fund for Public Health in New York, a non-profit organization, opened a request for proposals in December to install the machines that will dispense the anti-overdose drug naloxone, sterile syringes, and other "harm reduction and wellness supplies" to drug users in neighborhoods across the embattled city.

According to Business Insider, studies have shown there have been over a million deaths in the US since the year 1999 from fatal drug overdoses. In the city of New York alone in the year 2020, 2,062 people died from unintentional overdoses in 2020, the highest rate since reporting began in the year 2000.

"Black and Latino residents in neighborhoods with the highest rates of poverty, including South Bronx and East Harlem, reported the most overdose deaths in 2020," data from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found.

"Racial equity does not mean simply treating everyone equally, but rather, allocating resources and services in such a way that explicitly addresses barriers imposed by structural racism (i.e. policies and institutional practices that perpetuate racial inequity) and White privilege (i.e. historical and contemporary advantages in access to resources and opportunities afforded to White people) so that all people have access to what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives," stated the Fund for Public Health in its request to place the machines around the city.

The machines are slated to appear in parts of South Bronx and East Harlem, as well as in Union Square, and the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Health Department announced in November the opening of the first legalized heroin injection sites in the US.

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