ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Free Narcan vending machines are now available at the Rowan County Detention Center and annex, county officials announced on Friday.

The move was made possible through the Prevent Prescription Drug-Opioid Overdose Grant and aims to give free Narcan to a ‘high-risk population for opioid drug overdoses,’ officials said.

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Rowan County Public Health’s HOPE team on this decision to place Narcan vending machines in the detention center.

“The vending machines will provide free Narcan for individuals upon release, as well as family members and friends who have access to these buildings. All vending machines will have 24-hour-per-day, seven-days-a-week accessibility,” county officials said.

Rowan County officials said a recent North Carolina study found that people leaving jail are 40 times more likely to die of an opioid overdose within their first two weeks after release, and overdose is the leading cause of death among people who are returning from incarceration.

“Narcan is a safe, non-addictive drug that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. It can restore normal breathing within minutes in a person whose breathing has slowed or even stopped as a result of an opioid overdose. Each kit of Narcan holds two doses, that are administered through the nasal cavity. The kit also contains instructions on how to use it and resources for treatment and support services,” county officials explained.