opioid crisis

Multiple cities in Canada are getting ATM-like machines that dispense opioids

An ATM that dispenses opioids with a wave of the hand might sound like a strange idea, but it will soon be a reality in multiple Canadian cities — and it's all for a very good purpose.

The revolutionary machines are made by Dispension, a tech start-up working with Canadian doctors and organizations to launch the MySafe Project in response to the opioid crisis.

The project works to provide people with safe access to opioids to minimize the risk of overdosing.

After receiving approval from a doctor, a participant can approach the ATM-like machine and place their palm under a biometric scanner; hydromorphone will be dispensed in about 15 seconds. 

The world's first biometric opioid vending machines were launched in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in December 2019.

The kiosks will now expand to Dartmouth, N.S., Victoria, B.C. and London, Ont in mid-August.

The 800-pound steel machines are also "tamper-resistant," per the press release, so there's no need to worry about people breaking into them to steal the drugs.

Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Liberal MP for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour, announced $500,000 in repayable support to Dispension.

"Canadians are compassionate about the plight of the country's most vulnerable people and know the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk to their safety and wellbeing," said Fisher in the press release.

"Dispension's secure, contactless technology is especially important during the current health crisis."

Dispension is currently building 15 additional units for the next phase of MySafe expansion; the not-for-profit is hoping to fill the machines with international pharmaceuticals, medical/recreational cannabis, and alcohol.

Lead photo by

MySafe Project

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