The Orange County Detention Center is one of six detention centers in the state to receive a naloxone vending machine. The machine is stocked with free harm reduction supplies, including Narcan nasal spray kits (a brand of naloxone) and Covid tests. The free Narcan kits include Narcan nasal spray and instructions for use. Naloxone works to reverse an opioid overdose by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain and restoring normal breathing. The detention center is a critical place to distribute naloxone to people in need as those leaving jail have been found to be 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose in the two weeks after leaving incarceration. A key component of North Carolina Opioid Action Plan is to make naloxone widely available.
Harm reduction supplies like naloxone and fentanyl test strips are critical in fighting the opioid epidemic. In 2021, 3,759 people died of opioid overdose in North Carolina, and 29 were Orange County residents. In that same times period, there were 4,154 reported community reversals of opioid overdose. Harm reduction seeks to “meet people where they are.” Substance use is complicated. Not everyone is able to abstain or ready for treatment, and treatment resources are stretched thin. Harm reduction fills that gap to keep people and the community safe.
Some risk factors of opioid overdose are mixing opioids with alcohol or other medications, taking opioids for the first time in a long time (on release from jail or detox), taking high doses of opioids, having existing kidney, liver, or breathing problems, and having a previous overdose.
Signs that someone is experiencing an opioid overdose are that the person is not responsive, not breathing well (slow or shallow), pinpoint pupils, lips or fingernails are blue, or vomiting.
In the event that you or someone you’re with is experiencing an opioid overdose, call 911 and administer naloxone if it is available.
The vending machine is located in the lobby of the Orange County Detention Center at 1200 US-70 West, Hillsborough NC (across from the DMV) and is available to the public 24 hours/day.
These vending machines were funded by a grant from the National Center for State Courts and facilitated by the NC Harm Reduction Coalition and NC Department of Health and Human Services. Vending machines were also provided to detention centers in Buncombe, Cumberland, Forsyth, Guilford, Pitt and Wilkes counties.