Las Vegas, Nevada, has become the first city in the United States to offer syringe vending machines for intravenous drug users. The machines offer drug users clean syringes, with the idea being that easy access to clean needles will discourage sharing which spreads disease. The syringe vending machines are free to use, but in order to access them a person much be registered with one of the city's partner health programs.
Once registered a person is given an eight-digit I.D. number that allows them access to the machines and lets the health orgs track their use of them. Three vending machines will be part of the pilot program. Each one will be placed inside the office of a community health organization. That way users have easy access to support services if they decide to seek treatment. Each of the syringe vending machines costs $15,000, but the potential savings for health care providers and benefits to the citizens of Las Vegas seem to far outweigh the startup costs.