The Chelan-Douglas Health District (CDHD) has installed a low-barrier vending machine stocked with critical prevention and testing supplies inside its lobby.

The machine, which is located at 200 Valley Mall Parkway in East Wenatchee, dispenses the opioid blocking drug naloxone (also known as Narcan), COVID-19 testing kits, and prevention materials for sexually transmitted diseases (STI).

CDHD Mental Health & Substance Abuse Coordinator, Garth Donald, says the agency expects the machine will receive frequent use.

"COVID tests are still very popular in the community and people are constantly calling us to request them, so we did think it was important to stock those in the machine. Right now, we're also receiving a lot of requests for Narcan, so we're expecting to see multiple units of everything offered in the machine go out every day."

Donald adds that anyone in the community can use the vending machine to obtain whatever they need to stay safe, with no questions asked.

"We don't need pictures, we don't need IDs, and we don't collect information of any kind. This is simply to address critical needs in the community. So if you need Narcan, we want to get it into your hands."

The vending machine is also stocked with educational materials in English and Spanish and Donald says each product it dispenses comes with instructions on how to use them.

All items offered within the vending machine are free of charge.

The machine can be accessed during CDHD's regular business hours, Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, except on holidays.

Donald says CDHD is paying for the machine with agency funding provided through federal, state, and local grants, and that discussions are ongoing about the possibility of another machine being added at the same or a different location sometime in the future.

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