By: Gabriel Donahue, Deputy News Editor
Towson University students can now buy emergency contraception from the vending machine outside the University Store in an effort by the University Health Center to increase the pill’s accessibility.
My Way, the generic version of Plan B-One Step, can be purchased from the cash-only vending machine located on the first floor of the Union in front of the UStore, for $18.
While students can access several emergency contraception pills from the Health Center directly, Medical Director Dr. Suzanne Caccamese said in an email she wanted students to have quicker, more private access to the drug.
“I thought this would be an on-campus resource that would be important for students who maybe didn’t want to have to go through a [Health Center] visit, just wanted to be able to purchase the over-the-counter medication and use it anonymously,” Caccamese said.
Since My Way was put into the vending machine in November, eight doses have been purchased, Caccamese said. UStore Director Stacy Elofir said in an email that their annual budget covers the cost to supply My Way in the vending machine. She said that my Way will be in the vending machine for as long as the Health Center wants them to supply it.
My Way costs $11 from the Health Center, but access is dependent on stock and appointment availability.
Emergency contraception works best to prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex but can be effective up to five days after, according to Planned Parenthood. Some medications and antibiotics may interfere with the pill’s effectiveness.
“A lot of students here are young and aren’t really ready to start a family yet, so emergency contraception is one of the tools that women can have to control that,” Caccamese said.
Junior Jane Eze said she thinks the medication in the vending machine is a good resource.
“If you do happen to be in that situation one day [needing emergency contraception], I think that’s good for college students to have the opportunity to go to that vending machine,” Eze said. “If there’s no other option, that’s a good option.”
Similarly, sophomore Jasmine Brion said she appreciates the anonymity of the vending machine.
“It’s a helpful source for students to get [the medicine] right away, unlike having to go through the process of having to going to an adult and talking about it,” Brion said. “This is a different way of access for students to get the resources they need, rather than speaking it up because … they are afraid to get judged.”