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Quick Hits: Vancouver Has the World's First Biometric Opioid Vending Machine

The new vending machine dispenses a medicinal alternative to heroin as part of a harm reduction strategy in the opioid crisis.

I’ve seen a lot of unique things in vending machines including underwear, action figures, and iPhones, but what about drugs that combat the opioid crisis? According to a recent Vancouver Sun article, the Canadian city is now home to a biometric opioid vending machine. The 800 lb machine scans the vein pattern in a registered opioid user’s hand before releasing a small box with a safe dose of hydromorphone. The goal is to provide high-risk drug users a regulated and safer supply to prevent overdoses.

The machine is conveniently positioned next to an overdose prevention site in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. It was launched by the MySafe Project led by Dr. Mark Tyndall, a professor of medicine at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. The machine currently operates from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but will likely soon be available 24 hours a day. A video of the machine in action can be seen here.

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