Vending Machines Help Firefighters Keep Track of Drugs

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Vending machines being installed in Columbus firehouses will help paramedics and firefighters keep better track of the drugs they dispense.

About $220,000 is earmarked for the city fire to buy 18 vending machines that first-responders will have to use when restocking medic units with drugs.

Fire officials said the devices are similar to candy machines but require a unique identification number and, in some cases, a biometric scan such as a thumbprint for drugs to be released.

Battalion Chief Steve Saltsman says the machines will help keep better track and secure drugs that are regulated by state and federal agencies, such as opioids. He says it reduces the possibility for clerical errors and abuse.

The machines cost about $12,500 each.