Jan. 8, 2022 – This is really about expanding access to health and wellness services,” he said of the initiative, a $730,000 pilot program seeking up to six contractors.

The main purpose of the vending machines is to curb overdoses across the city by increasing the availability of naloxone, a drug that works to quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. “Every four hours there’s an overdose here,” Dr. McRae said. “This is something that doesn’t allow for people to die every hour.” As they have across the country, opioid deaths in New York City, have risen significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. There were 2,062 overdose deaths in the city in 2020, according to data published last year by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — the highest total since reporting on overdose deaths began in 2000 and over 500 more than in 2019.

“Overdose deaths in New York City are not equally distributed citywide, with some groups and neighborhoods disproportionately experiencing increases,” the nonprofit Fund for Public Health in New York said last month in a request for proposals from organizations interested in taking the lead on the project. The fund, which issued the request on behalf of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, set a Jan. 20 deadline for proposals. The health department will award the contracts on Jan. 31.  


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