The Ann Arbor District Library first became home to a Narcan vending machine in April 2022. The vending machine, which dispenses overdose treatment kits free of charge, was installed by Home of New Vision, a local rehabilitation center aiming to provide more easily accessible lifesaving support for those with substance abuse issues.
Eli Neiburger, director of the Ann Arbor District Library, told The Michigan Daily he believes Home of New Vision’s harm reduction resources are essential for the Ann Arbor community. Neiburger said he feels the vending machine was a critical first step in reducing overdose-related deaths.
“Narcan is something that’s important for people to have access to carry around, not just if they have someone who has an opiate addiction in their lives, but also just in case they encounter someone,” Neiburger said. “ … And (the vending machine has) been a very easy way for people to get access to life-saving medication that has very big advantages.”
Following the positive response from the community on the first machine, Neiburger said they expanded the program to other Ann Arbor District Library branches.
“We’ve really had no complaints about it, and that’s why we expanded it to our other branches,” Neiburger said. “There’s no room for vending machines at other branches, but there are Narcan kits available somewhere near the desk at all (AADL) locations, again provided by Home of New Vision.”
Peter Czajkowski, Rackham student and a library clerk at the Ann Arbor District Library, told The Daily he has seen the vending machine’s positive community impact firsthand. He said patrons of the library and other community members will ask library staff about it from time to time, making it clear that the vending machine is being used on a regular basis.
“I’ve seen (the vending machine being) restocked quite a few times, so clearly is getting some use,” Czajkowski said. “I have had people come up to the desk and ask about it and really thank us for having it in the library, which has been rewarding as well, and a good sign that’s being used in the community.”
Business freshman Helen Yang told The Daily she believes the vending machine is not only a lifesaving resource, but also assists in raising awareness of harm reduction.
“I think the Narcan machine is a really great idea and I think it could help save a lot of lives,” Yang said. “I think (it will) be very helpful to help people get back on their feet and stuff like that, rather than having one O.D. be life-ending … they could recover from it and become a productive member of society.”
Daily Staff Reporter Maleny Crespo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.