Meet Carla Douglin, Founder & CEO of OpiSafe Vending Solutions LLC

Our mission is to save lives and create safer, healthier communities by pioneering innovative harm reduction vending solutions. We are committed to providing easy access to life-saving resources, such as Narcan and combination fentanyl/xylazine test strips, at festivals, venues, and universities, thereby reducing the devastating impact of drug overdoses. Our unwavering dedication to harm reduction, education, and public awareness drives us to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals and the communities we serve.

Who are your biggest inspirations/role models?
I have to say Oprah! Her rise to a global media icon, grounded in resilience and a commitment to positive change, mirrors the values I admire and strive to embody. Oprah’s dedication to inclusivity, empowerment, and social betterment, all while adhering to her core values, exemplifies the kind of impactful leadership I aspire to.

How does your business contribute to the empowerment of the Black community?
Empowerment, in my view, is rooted in the synergy between decision-making and proactive engagement. While the opioid crisis transcends demographics, affecting countless lives across the board, its impact on the Black community cannot be overlooked. My business aims to dismantle barriers to access for life-saving resources like Narcan kits and fentanyl testing strips, especially in communities disproportionately affected by substance misuse. By providing these essential tools, we’re not only addressing a critical health crisis but also championing the principle that positive change is possible through individual initiative and collective action. This stance embodies empowerment by demonstrating to the Black community, and indeed to all communities, that solutions begin with the decision to act and the commitment to follow through. In doing so, we underscore the belief that everyone has the power to effect change in their surroundings, inspiring others to tackle issues that resonate with them, thereby fostering a culture of empowerment and resilience.

How long have you been working with MWBC?
Only a few months, and the experience has been tremendous!

How has MWBC helped you in your business journey?
The first time I met Roneka Samalenge, she provided me with a huge list of funding and grant resources, as well as ideas and opportunities for networking and connection with other business owners. As a self-funded entrepreneur, her advice and resources have been priceless! This has helped me plot a plan for scaling and opened up my network to additional collaboration opportunities.

What advice to you have for aspiring Black women entrepreneurs?
 As Nike says, “JUST DO IT.” Understand this: someone out there needs your idea, your service, your product, your voice. Do not allow outside circumstances, opinions or the appearance of “competition” delay your launch into the world. Drop the excuses and get to work. Whatever you’ve been dreaming of, do it today.

We asked Roneka Samalenge, Carla’s MWBC business counselor, what makes Carla stand out as an MWBC client.
At MWBC, we talk a lot about positioning a business around a pain point. Carla has done just that! She has taken her drive, skills and passion to help solve a huge nationwide problem. Carla stands out to me because she’s not just in the business for herself, but she is in it to impact so many others. During our meetings, she speaks about this and the drive to help save people’s lives literally pulls her to the next phase of her business – you can see the passion! Because of that, she does not waste time because Carla knows the impact and the importance of her business, and she has the personal confidence to match that! This is a trait that cannot be easily taught or acquired and Carla stands out because she naturally has that!

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Happy Black History Month! At the Maryland Women’s Business Center, we take pride in leveling the playing field for women and minorities. We are here to support Black-owned businesses every month of the year.