The Liberal government has announced $3.5 million in funding for vending machines that will dispense prescribed opioids to registered drug users in four cities.
Darren Fisher, the parliamentary secretary to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, said in a news release on Tuesday that the vending machines will be set up at five locations: two in Vancouver and one each in Victoria; London, Ontario; and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Fisher said the initiative is meant to help “reach people living with an opioid use disorder who may face barriers accessing traditional methods of care, and can also prevent opioid overdose from increasingly toxic illegal drugs.”
These so-called MySafe machines, which resemble ATMs, will provide patients with hydromorphone pills based on their existing prescriptions. A palm scan is used for verifying the patient’s identity before the drugs are dispensed.
According to the statement, the grant is part of the federally-funded MySafe Project, which aims to make it easier for Canadians to access hydromorphone as a substitute for toxic, illegal drugs.
With files from The Canadian Press