Northwestern Continuing Its Fight Against Opioids with Installation of Harm Reduction Vending Machine

January 31, 2024

Harm Reduction Vending Machine
A Harm Reduction Vending Machine that administers free Naloxone and Fentanyl Test Strips was recently installed in the Northwestern Student Center. On-hand for its installation are (from left to right) Ozge Yavuz, Kocaeli, Turkey, junior majoring in psychology; Rosalee Hamill, Prevention Programs Field Representative at Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention Services; Jadyn Chancey, Mooreland freshman majoring in psychology who will be in charge of restocking the vending machine; and Taylor Wilson, licensed professional counselor and director of counseling and career serves at Northwestern.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University is continuing its mission to fight against opioid addiction and other stimulant abuse with the installation of a Harm Reduction Vending Machine that administers free Naloxone and Fentanyl Test Strips. The vending machine is located near the west entrance to the Student Center on the Alva campus in the vending area.

Northwestern is the fourth university in Oklahoma to install a vending machine on its campus and is the 37th machine in the state.

Taylor Wilson, a licensed professional counselor and director of counseling and career services at Northwestern, has been instrumental in getting this vending machine on campus from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS).

Wilson and Northwestern wanted to have these items available to the campus community as well as the public to help save lives.

“While some may perceive the Fentanyl Strips as supporting substance abuse, it essentially offers individuals a chance to recover as opposed to enduring fatal repercussions,” Wilson said.

Wilson explained that anyone may use the vending machine for free. All an individual has to do is utilize the touch screen to determine what product is dispensed and enter a zip code to receive the free items. She noted that instructions are provided on the packaging of the products as well as online at

Naloxone is an over-the-counter opioid overdose reversal medication that has been pivotal in saving lives amidst the opioid epidemic. In an emergency, the affected person cannot use Naloxone on themselves; however, a bystander, friend or family member can administer the medication to save a person’s life. The type of Naloxone in the vending machine is the intranasal spray, Narcan.

Fentanyl test strips are small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl in all different kinds of drugs and drug forms (pills, powder and injectables). Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is a major contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the United States.

These items are recommended for anyone who may have opioids in their home like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and methadone, which can be prescribed to help reduce pain.

A full list of vending machine locations and instructions on how to use Naloxone can be found at Naloxone and Fentanyl Strips also are available to order online at

Community leaders interested in installing a free vending machine in their areas can contact ODMHSAS at (405) 248-9200.

Although the installation of the vending machine is not a part of the various grants Northwestern has been awarded from the ODMHSAS and Mental Health Services Administration since fiscal year 2020, it does go along with the university’s opioid prevention outreach.

Wilson noted that funds from the grants have provided a couple of other products that are available to the campus community and public. These items include Medication Lock Boxes and the Deterra Drug Deactivation Pouches Disposal System.

The lock boxes help to prevent medication from getting into the wrong hands by locking it up and storing it out of the sight and reach of visitors. The deactivation pouches are a safe medication disposal pouch that can be used at home to dispose of unwanted, expired and unused medications.

To request free lock boxes and deactivation pouches, contact Wilson at These items also are available on resource tables in Ryerson Hall 209 on the Alva campus, as well as at the Woodward and Enid campus locations. The lock boxes also are available in the J.R. Holder Wellness Center.

To locate year-round medication disposal drop-off locations in many areas within and outside of Northwestern’s various campus locations, visit

Dr. Bo Hannaford, university president, praised Wilson’s hard work with the vending machines and various grants she helps to facilitate for the campus community.

“I am impressed and grateful with the work that Ms. Wilson has done. She is helping provide resources that could save a life one day.”


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