Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Chippewa County Health Department applying for public health vending machine grant

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) – In Chippewa Falls, anyone can access Narcan by going to one of the three boxes located at the YMCA.

Narcan is a nasal spray that can save someone’s life if they overdose.

But Chippewa County Public Health wants to have more resources available by adding a public health vending machine.

“The primary things required by the grant that we are currently applying for are Fentanyl testing strips and Narcan nasal spray. But we’re also looking at putting anything from condoms to plan b, hygiene kits, toothbrushes, Doterra medication disposal bags, anything to aid in the prevention of opioid misuse, and also just to provide for community members,” said Hailey Bomar, with Chippewa County Public Health.

The state of Wisconsin was awarded $36 million this year from lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and opioid manufacturers. 800,000 of this funding has been set aside for competitive grant funding to be used for public health vending machines. Chippewa county is applying for some of that funding.

“I think the most important thing to know is that this will not be funded by tax levy dollars. So as we sustain it throughout the years, if we are successful in getting the grant, we will be funding this through grant funding and through opioid settlement funds,” said Bomar.

Staff from Chippewa County Public Health said this is very needed for the area.

“Data has been showing us that the increase in opioid overdose death is increasing in the community in the state and in Chippewa Falls. In 2023, there were 14 overdose deaths just in Chippewa County alone, and so far in 2024, there have been 3.

So it’s real, it’s happening and it’s it’s affecting everyone in the community and we just want to do our part to, to try to save lives and and provide resources to community members,” said JoAnna Bernklau with Chippewa County Public Health.

Eau Claire has had a vending machine at the county jail lobby for almost a year and says it has proven to be a big help in the community as they have been able to dispense 800 boxes of Narcan nasal spray and over 2000 Fetanyl test strips.

If the grant is approved for the vending machine in Chippewa Falls, the staff at Chippewa County Public Health said that they should have it up and running by the end of the year.

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