MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Through a team effort including West Virginia Sober Living (WVSL), the Monongalia County Health Department’s Quick Response Team (QRT), and Wise Path Recovery Center, the first naloxone vending machine in the state has been relocated.

WVSL Executive Director Jon Dower said when the Hope Hill Sobering Center closed, they needed to find a new location. The groups also wanted to expand the hours of access.

“Individuals could only get it on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights when the sobering center was open,” Dower said. “We were really looking to identify a place that would give privacy and 24/7 access.”

The machine is now located at the Wise Path Recovery Center at 900 Fairmont Road. A location that provides privacy and around-the-clock access to the life-saving drug.

“We appreciate that spot, mainly because it has a night vestibule that’s private,” Dower said. “Anyone can go in and access the machine, out of the weather and without a passerby knowing they’re at the machine.”

In addition to expanding the hours of availability, Dower said they’ve added to what is available in an effort to meet the needs of those struggling with addiction.

“Not only are there naloxone products, but there are also fentanyl test strips now as well as personal hygiene kits,” Dower said. “We understand the population may have more needs than just life-saving medication.”

Dower said the proliferation of fentanyl across the country really means everyone should be prepared to respond to an accidental overdose. In 2022, data from the Office of Drug Control Policy reported 9,000 EMS responses to suspected overdoses and 1,250 deaths.

“The need to have naloxone in every first aid kit and medicine cabinet is very important to us as a Quick Response Team,” Dower said.