KELLOGG, Idaho (KIFI) - North Idaho’s Panhandle Health District has installed free Narcan vending machines in Coeur d’Alene and Kellogg.
Narcan is a brand name of the opioid reversal medication naloxone.
These new vending machines were installed at The Pantry at St. Vincent de Paul in Coeur d’Alene and the Shoshone County Fire District in Kellogg.
“We chose those [locations] because they are the highest rate of overdose in our region up here in Region 1,” Panhandle Health District Community Health Program manager Katie Schemer said.
Idaho had 381 drug overdoses in 2022. About 70% of them were related to any kind of opioid and 49 of them were directly related to fentanyl.
“Last year, we had more opioid overdose deaths than we had fatal car accidents here in the state of Idaho,” project coordinator for substance use disorder Makenna Hunziker said.
Since Narcan was established, Idaho has seen a 46% reduction in opioid overdose deaths, according to the Idaho Harm Reduction Project.
There can be a stigma around drug overdoses. Some people assume drug addicts are the only people overdosing. However, Schmeer says that is not the case.
Data from Idaho’s Drug Overdose Prevention Program shows 15.5% of all overdose deaths in Idaho happened to people more than 55 years old.
“We see…family members specifically buying [Narcan] for…family, friends, anybody that might know that would be a possible risk for overdose,” she said.
There is a chance that more vending machines like these could be installed in Southeastern Idaho.
For more information on opioid safety, visit panhandlehealthdistrict.org.