Las Vegas to get needle vending machines

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(LOS ANGELES TIMES) — Las Vegas is preparing to be the first city in the nation with vending machines dispensing clean needles in an effort to help combat the spread of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, while also possibly leading some drug users into treatment.

Three machines will be available for users starting in May. The pilot program is a coordinated effort between Trac-B Exchange, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society to discourage the sharing of needles among users.

Trac-B Exchange program director Rick Reich said that to participate in the vending machine program, users would have to fill out a form for the sponsoring groups and obtain an eight-digit identification number to ensure confidentiality and track their use. Each kit will contain sterile syringes and needles — along with a compartment for used needles that can be disposed of safely at the machines.

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