Vine Grove Narcan vending machine emptied one day after opening

The City of Vine Grove thought it was a good idea to install a free Narcan vending machine. No one counted on the strong response.
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 4:58 PM EDT
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VINE GROVE, Ky. (WAVE) - A little over 24 hours is all it took, according to Mayor Pam Ogden, for 48 doses of life saving Narcan to disappear from the new Vine Grove vending machine.

“Literally at noon we came and did a ribbon-cutting,” Ogden said. “We didn’t post it on the city page until 6 p.m. that night. And by 6 p.m. Friday night, it was empty.”

Narcan is a drug that can save lives in cases of opioid overdoses. At a time when Hardin County reports more than 200 EMS calls involving overdoses, the city of Vine Grove thought it was a good idea to install a free Narcan vending machine. No one counted on the strong response.

“I was shocked,” Ogden said. “My chief texted me. He said the machine is empty. I was like, seriously? Did somebody come and take all of them at one time? He said no. It was a steady stream because we have a camera on it.”

During the pandemic the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy reports year to year increases totaling more than 5,500 drug overdose deaths in three years.

Bryce Shumate, the Hardin County Chief Emergency Services officer, said last year there were 50 fatal drug overdoses in the county. So far this year, there have been 34.

The Vine Grove packs are marked with a small sticker.

Shumate predicts it will not take long before EMS crews confirm the vending machine Narcan is saving lives.

“With the frequency of runs that we’re seeing on overdoses,” Shumate said, “it’s an everyday event. And so, I think we’re going to see this, this week.”

The City of Vine Grove has ordered replacement supplies. They expect to have the vending machine fully stocked by Wednesday.