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Written by Lucy Connery MPH

Medication for Addiction Treatment and Electronic Referrals (MATTERS) launched its Harm Reduction Vending Machine program in October 2023 and has since deployed 15 machines across New York State. These vending machines contain free supplies such as fentanyl test strips, xylazine test strips, and naloxone to prevent opioid overdoses in the community. MATTERS harm reduction vending machines are strategically placed in locations that are open to the public 24/7, 365 days a year. This week, the 15th vending machine found its home at the Goodwill of Western New York on Wiliam Street.

Contents of the MATTERS harm reduction vending machines. This includes naloxone (commonly referred to as Narcan), fentanyl test strips, and xylazine test strips.

Harm Reduction Vending Machines serve as an opportunity to connect people who use drugs (PWUD) to resources and treatment for substance use disorder. With the continued rise in fentanyl exposure across the United States, it is important to bring these lifesaving, overdose-reversing tools directly to communities in need.

President and CEO of Goodwill of Western New York, Thomas Ulbrich, commented “We know that the opioid epidemic has no geographic or social boundaries and affects all of us in some way. Our administrative office on William Street at Lewis is in a high-traffic area and data shows that it is in close proximity to neighborhoods with high rates of opioid usage and overdoses.”

MATTERS has partnered with a variety of community-based organizations to ensure these vending machines are easily accessible to the public. In addition to the Goodwill of Western New York, MATTERS Harm Reduction Vending Machines are located at treatment organizations, convenience stores, public transportation hubs, and county health departments to reach a diverse range of individuals.

Mr. Ulbrich continued to say, “We are incredibly impressed by the work of the MATTERS initiative and their innovative approaches to provide access to substance abuse treatment and harm reduction supplies. When approached by Dr. Lynch and his team with the opportunity to be a part of their very important mission, we leapt at the opportunity.”

Dr. Joshua Lynch, Founder and Chief Medical Officer of MATTERS, met with leadership at Goodwill of Western New York to celebrate the activation of this vending machine. Dr. Lynch commented “This initiative is important because of the stigma associated with substance use disorder. We know that folks may be reluctant to walk into a building and ask for drug testing supplies. Now, these supplies are free and easily accessible, no questions asked.”

MATTERS is proud to bring these harm reduction, overdose prevention resources to communities across New York State. Find a map of current Harm Reduction Vending Machines or order free supplies to be delivered to your home on the MATTERS website or mobile app!