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'I think it's doing some good:' Kentucky's first Narcan vending machine opens in Hardin County

Vine Grove Police Dept. Chief Kenneth Mattingly

A vending machine outside a police department in Hardin County isn’t dispensing chips and soda, but instead providing a lifesaving drug.

The Vine Grove Police Department is home to Kentucky’s first Narcan vending machine.

The nasal spray is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Police Chief Kenneth Mattingly says he got the idea for the vending machine after
responding to an emergency call earlier this year.

“The young lady who lived in this apartment had a friend come over. He took something in her bathroom and she heard him fall over," Mattingly said. "She’s a recovering addict herself and she had a dose available to her that she got in one of her previous rehabs, and saved his life.”

Mattingly said he wanted Narcan to be more readily available to the general public and not just first responders.

The Vine Grove Police Department installed the machine last week and it was emptied within 36 hours. Mattingly admitted he was suspicious at first.

"It's video-monitored, so I went back and watched the video, wondering if someone was coming in and taking five or six or ten, but I never saw that," Mattingly said. "I would go outside when someone would pull up and watch them, and they’d take one and sit there and read the literature, so I think it’s doing some good.”

Each dose of Narcan comes with information on addiction treatment and recovery.

Mattingly says someone even drove from Louisville to get the antidote, and he hopes surrounding communities will be served by the machine.

Mattingly says the initial response shows the need for Narcan in the community.
Hardin County had 50 overdoses deaths in 2021 and is on pace to exceed that number this year. The county had 34 overdose fatalities as of May.

The Overdose Fatality Report released by the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy showed that 2,250 Kentuckians died from drug overdoses in 2021, a 14.5% increase compared to the previous year.

The Narcan vending machine was purchased by Communicare, a local mental health and addiction treatment center. The machine can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days week.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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