LEXINGTON COUNTY, S.C. — A local non-profit called LRADAC, the Lexington Richland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council, is on a mission to keep people alive with a new tool: A vending machine filled with Narcan.
The new machine lives inside the Lexington County Detention Center, right near the discharge door of the jail.
The life-saving opioid antagonist medicine is available for free to former inmates as they are released.
All you have to do is walk up to the vending machine, type the vending machine slot number you'd like into the keypad, the medicine will drop down and you can pick it up through the vending machine door at the bottom.
LRADAC received grant funding from the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) to buy the vending machine for about $5,000. LRADAC tells News 19 Narcan is something they already receive on a consistent basis as a community resource.
According to its website, the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) is a cabinet agency, with representation of a director who is appointed by the South Carolina governor via advice and consent of the Senate.
"Our overdose rates in Lexington County are increasing each year. We're seeing a significant increase in fentanyl present in overdose deaths. About 70% of overdose deaths are related to fentanyl and so our shift has really focused on how do we just keep people alive and keep people safe and this is just one of those ways we hope to do that," said Ashley Bodiford, LRADAC director of prevention.
There are a total of 54 packages of Narcan in the vending machine and LRADAC explains they will refill it as needed.
The Lexington County Sheriff sent News 19 a statement saying, "The most important reason to make this resource from LRADAC available is that it saves lives. That's why we do what we do, and it's at the heart of our life's work. We want to help people and spare their loved ones from grief."
In the two weeks it's been up and running, LRADAC tells News 19 there's been a lot of positive feedback.
The idea is that LRADAC will track results and effectiveness monthly and quarterly to see if it's working.
LRADAC tells News 19 it's open to expanding the program to the Richland County jail as well.