NYC Unveils Crack Pipe Vending Machines

New York City unveils crack pipe vending machines, but it was empty after the first day. However, Elan Quashie, the Opioid Overdose Program Director at Services for the Under Served, said they will restock it every day.

New York City’s first public health vending machine giving out free crack pipes, condoms and Narcan, an overdose-reversing drug, was already empty less than 24 hours after being unveiled by officials. 

But eager city officials determined to keep residents in rich supply of clean drug apparatus were quick to revisit the site on Tuesday afternoon with more. 

Elan Quashie, the Opioid Overdose Program Director at Services for the Under Served, said: ‘We’re going to restock every day. Probably multiple times a day.’

He said he was not surprised that the items were taken so quickly, adding: ‘I kind of knew that they would go.’

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He restocked five trays of Naloxone and two trays of fentanyl-testing kits – and said he will be returning later to refill the machine with the other products.

All gone! The vending machine, that was installed just yesterday, was empty by Tuesday morning
A ‘safer smoking kit’ containing a heavy stem, mouthpiece, pusher, 6 screens, chore filter and lip balm for people wanting to smoke crack

Each tray on the machine holds between 13 and 18 products, which are free for the public to take. Quashie, who worked for the nonprofit agency, carried the additional supplies in a Trader Joe’s reusable bag. 

The words ‘poor choices’ were chalked on the sidewalk directly outside the machine.

The program director stood on the etched words as he unlocked the vending machine – which is kept at room temperature for the products.

Quashie added: ’We got a lot of positive feedback from people, and they were happy to see that it was free. So, we had an idea that some of the selections were going so quickly.

Speaking about the restock, he added: ‘I would estimate maybe twice a day, depending on what items are going quickly than others.

‘Hopefully all items go at equal speed. Give it another week and we’ll have some trends.’

One disgruntled resident, who can see the vending machine from her bedroom window, complained that it should be put in the lobby of one of the resource buildings, rather than on the street.

She also said that it could be a hazard for children walking past, who may think the drug paraphernalia machine is stocked with candy.

She said: ‘Being a Brooklyn resident and someone who goes out, there are places that are definitely better suited to this.’

The New York City Council passed a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against height and weight in housing, employment, and public accommodations.

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