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Vancouver, Canada: the first opioid vending machine offers people with severe substance use disorder (SUD) a regulated and safe supply of opioid-containing drugs while minimising the need for person-to-person contact. In this way, the MySafe project also contributes to preventing COVID-19 infections.
The MySafe Project launched the biometric opioid vending machine in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as part of a pilot project in December 2019.
Registered people who have been evaluated as opioid dependent in terms of their drug use, health status and social situation are prescribed a heroin alternative called hydromorphone, which they receive according to a pre-established schedule.
Compared with pharmacy pick-up, pharmacy delivery or other medication programmes, MySafe can reduce the need for person-to-person contact while still providing real time monitoring of medication dispensing. Following enrolment, regular access to the medications can occur through a biometric scanner that does not require contact. This is highly relevant in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The founder of My Safe Project is Dr Mark Tyndall, Professor of Medicine, UBC School of Population & Public Health
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