Newspaper boxes may return – filled with medicines

ST. LOUIS – You’ll soon see more drugs on a street corner near you. But in this case, the neighbors are mostly happy about it.

One in south St. Louis City is called the “Naloxyboxy,” a retrofit newspaper dispenser that contains the pharmaceutical naloxone packaged as a Narcan nasal spray.

“We plan to place these all over the city,” said Chad Sabora.

The first officially begins this weekend in front of Sabora’s MO Network headquarters on South Broadway, about a block north of Gasconade.

“If it’s 2 a.m. and someone’s in danger, we want to make sure they don’t die,” Sabora said.

Naloxone can reverse a drug overdose in someone who appears to be dead. Sabora says more people need to wear it.

“It creates a level of anonymity where people don’t have to worry about someone seeing them,” Sabora said. “Just come, take this and save someone’s life.”

Atif Mahr said it was a great idea.

“…Especially with the epidemic we have.”

Mahr told us he once saved someone with naloxone.

“While we were working on a construction site, someone did an OD. I’m a veteran, so VA Hospital distributes them, so I happened to have one that I keep in my truck for safety, like that, and we administered it and it survived,” he said.

Sabora first commercialized naloxone in St. Louis a decade ago. We featured his efforts, which were illegal back then as he met in back alleys and in people’s homes.

Now he’s exercising outdoors, like he did in 2020 when he passed out on naloxone outside the St. Louis County Justice Center. Prison administrators told us at the time that they supported Sabora’s efforts.

Are there concerns that the drug could be stolen?

“If someone steals anything, it’s still going to find its way into the community, and our goal here is to flood neighborhoods,” Sabora said.

Sabora also works to help people who are struggling with access to other medications, such as insulin and EpiPens, “…which we help people get for free or at low cost when they’re struggling to pay for their medication.”

“This isn’t about one population being pitted against another when it comes to who can get their medicines,” he said. “This is about us all working together.” Newspaper boxes may return – filled with medicines

Sarah Y. Kim

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