Tackling the reliance and survival under drugs comes with its own barriers and struggles, and finding resources to help regain control and agency is a bigger step in that process.
This year, Project Hope has set up their own Narcan vending machine that's located in the parking lot behind Clinica Sierra on Baker Street, the first ever set in Kern County.
Clinica Sierra also has its setup for free items including safe injection kits, safe sex kits, and feminine hygiene bags, with signing up as easy as scanning a QR code and accessing a digit code thereafter to receive these helpful tools and necessities.
Behind this community aid was Dr. Ashleigh Herrera, a social worker and assistant professor at Cal State Bakersfield. She explains that isolation during the COVID-19 was a big factor of the opioid epidemic as well as the rise of deaths due to fentanyl.
According to Eyewitness News, “Herrera worked with Clinica Sierra to get funding from Anthem Blue Cross, and several other programs to get this vending machine installed.”
Narcan has become more popularized over the years with medical intervention at festivals, resorts, and other vulnerable environments by everyday people that aren't always a doctor or harm reduction professional.
“Everyone should carry this, right, it's not that I use drugs I need to carry it, its actually that I have it, so I'm ready to respond and intervene if i come across somebody who is overdosing, and I can save a life, and reduce the stigma and shame around this problem,” said Herrera.
Training on how to use Narcan for free can be found at End Overdose, an organization that educates and promotes public safety on opioid overdose response training. Click here to learn more: End Overdose – End Overdose is a leading 501c3 nonprofit providing online and in person opioid overdose response training.
More vending machines are planned to be installed through the county very soon.