DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Tuesday, Durham County Sheriff and Durham County Public Health announced the start of the "Narcan Near Me" project.
In an effort to tackle opioid use and deaths that has become a major problem in the community, the county is placing a vending machine in the lobby of the Durham County Detention Center, which is available 24/7. The county already has one in the lobby of the public health center building--only available during business hours.
The machines dispense free Narcan -- a life-saving medication that can reverse an overdose from opioids.
"Without a shadow of a doubt, we're inside an epidemic. We know that overdoses are increasing. Fentanyl is certainly laced in every street drug out there on the street right now," Rodney Jenkins, Durham County Health Director said.
The county already has one in the public health center and they hope to have another in the county's library system "pretty soon."
Durham County leaders hope there will be more but they say funding is key.
"Free access to Narcan is one of the most important tools we can offer our local community to help save lives from drug overdoses," Jenkins said.
"Here at the detention center and in the community, we see first-hand the impact OUD has had." Durham County Sheriff Clarence F. Birkhead said in a news release. "We implemented the first medication-assisted treatment program (MAT) at a detention facility in the entire State of North Carolina four years ago. Our deputies have been carrying Narcan for several years to assist those in immediate crisis. By adding the vending machine here at a highly accessible location where every member of the community can access it 24 hours a day and free of charge, will help us save lives.
Last year, Cumberland County leaders added a Narcan vending machine inside its detention center.