Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Health & Human Services offer healthcare products through kiosk

On the porch below the Cathlamet Library sits what looks like a vending machine. It’s similar in size and shape, but instead of a large glass display of name-brand beverages and snacks, there’s a QR code and large text advertising FREE HEALTHCARE TESTS & SUPPLIES.

As part of Wahkiakum County Health & Human Services’ preventative medicine rollout, a no-cost, self-service kiosk has been installed for use by the community. The kiosk offers a local solution to some urgent healthcare needs, while offering the privacy of an ATM.

Last week, the kiosk was stocked with COVID-19 rapid tests and antigen tests. The federal government recently ended home delivery of no-cost COVID-19 tests – hopefully the kiosk meets the need for free and locally available testing.

You can now expect to find fentanyl and xylazine drug test strips stocked as well. These drug test strips are one of many tools in public health’s growing harm reduction toolbelt. The health department started distributing NARCAN (otherwise known as naloxone) to County residents in October of last year. NARCAN is administered to reverse an opioid overdose after use. Offering drug test strips can prevent an overdose from an unsuspected presence of fentanyl or xylazine before a substance is even used.

Minette Smith is the Coalition Coordinator for Wahkiakum Community Network. Their work revolves around organizing the community to improve mental wellness and prevent youth substance use. “In the prevention world,” they stated, “our hope is that youth never use substances because their brains are still developing. But in the real world, we know they sometimes do. We want to have resources available, not just for youth, but anyone that needs them. A life saved is a life saved.”

“It’s part numbers and part compassion,” Public Health Nurse Stacy Wynn commented. “In the last 6 years, fentanyl pill seizures have increased by more than 8,000 percent. While the opioid crisis continues to worsen, we have people in our community that are struggling. Harm reduction products keep our family and neighbors with us so they can get the help they need.”

Along with NARCAN and drug test strips, the kiosk will be stocked with drug drink detector kits (used to prevent drug-facilitated sexual assault), STI testing kits, condoms, tampons/pads, and pregnancy tests.

Kiosk products will be available to the community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with support in 11 different languages. You will need an ID to use the kiosk and may need a cell phone for products that deliver lab results. For questions about the kiosk, please call Health & Human Services at 360-795-6207.

 

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