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Crackpipe VENDING MACHINES installed in Vancouver to curb spread of HIV, Hep C

  1. Rob Cypher
    In an effort to curb the spread of disease among drug users, Vancouver has become home to Canada's very first crackpipe vending machines.

    Installed on the city's Downtown Eastside, the machines offer Pyrex crackpipes for only 25 cents.

    'For us this was about increasing access to safer inhalation supplies in Downtown Eastside,' said Kailin See, the director of the DURC.

    See told CTV Vancouver the pipes are durable and less likely to cut a user's mouth, meaning the communicable diseases like HIV and hepatatis C will have a harder time spreading.

    Two of the machines are operated by Portland Hotel Society's Drug Users Resource Centre.

    The vending machines are part of a larger effort to curb harm in drug users overseen by InSite, the only medically supervised safe injection site in North America.

    InsSite is no stranger to controversy since opening a decade ago. Up to 800 people use the site's services every day.

    Federal officials attempted to shut them down in 2008, but the Supreme Court of Canada found the facility was exempt under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
    Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney said he disagrees with InSite's mission only supporting treatments that end drug use entirely and 'limiting access to drug paraphernalia.'

    'Drug use damages the health of individuals and the safety of our communities,' he said. 'We believe law enforcement should enforce the law.'

    InSite argues that studies have shown harm reduction strategies lead to overall decreases in the infectious disease rates and make addicts more likely to get treatment by introducing them to health professionals.

    'This is one piece of a larger puzzle,' See said. 'You have to have treatment, you have to have detox, you have to have safe spaces to use your drug of choice, and you have to have safe and clean supplies.'

    See argued that as every new HIV or hepatitis case could cost taxpayers up to $250,000 in medical treatment a mere 25 cents for a new pipe was a bargain.

    Daily Mail
    Feburary 9, 2014



  1. Dr. Chocoholic
    Very interesting and understandably controversial approach at harm reduction.

    Personally I wouldn't argue for or against such a program, but it's interesting to imagine the response and backlack this would generate if it was attempted in the states.
  2. tidruid
    This immediately made me think about a Futurama episode when there are crack vending machines everywhere.
  3. CannabisTobaccoAlcohol
    I love those politicians who jump the gun and attack anything that promotes harm reduction of drug use, little do these jerks realize that you will never successfully curb drug abuse, its a part of humanity and its delusional to think it can be cured entirely especially with their 'tough love' approach which only makes things worse.
  4. Basoodler
    How would vending crack pipes prevent HIV or Hep C in any way shape or form.. those machines might prevent theft of tire guages I guess.. Crack heads will just bust open the machines eventually for the money.. I am sure they carry their pipe and it is the cleanest possession they have in life.

    There are more pressing issues on the dangers of crack addiction front than pipes breaking.. A new crack pipe isn't going prevent the actual dangers a crack head may face .. Like HIV / hep C from prostitution.. It won't keep them from getting robbed or victimized .. And it won't make the streets in Canada a warmer place to sleep.. Crack pipes won't help to feed driving hunger and they won't sit down and listen to , care for and enable a crack head to quit..

    Syringes are a noble cause because they save lives.. Crack is the only drug I can name whose users are actually benefitting from a couple days in jail. After a couple days the vast majority of crack users (recreational not addicts) will no longer be in danger of crack related stupidity
  5. Rob Cypher
    Don't be so cynical - the pipes are harder to break, leading to less viral transmission, and they're only a quarter. Crackheads are good at getting loose change anyway.
  6. Basoodler
    Maybe its the fact that I grew up amid the "great crack scare" or the fact that geeking crack heads are 10 times more annoying than any other sort of drug user on the planet. Or the fact that local law enforcement seems disinterested to the point of looking past crack houses with a yards full of dealers, but will go out of their way to arrest a person selling pot..or drinking and driving .

    It also could be the baby mama culture that follows crack dealers, and the women I know that are stuck in that trap..

    Anyway I admit it, crack gets on my nerves :p
  7. Jimmytries
    Bassoodler, I want to argue and disagree with you but cannot find a flaw with anything you say.
    It really does bring out the annoying in people.
    I once had two drugs doing battle in my body. I had smoked a fat, potent joint and then got my hands on some crack. It was a beautiful sunny day and the weed wanted to get outdoors and enjoy the day but the crack wanted to lock me in the washroom and not come out until it had all been smoked.
    As for the distribution of pipes, even I was a bit cynical when I first heard of it. Once I started thinking about it though it became more and more sensible. This area is true poverty and the variety stores that sell these pipes, under the counters, charge enough to discourage many from purchasing one when they can share. Very often these pipes have had some wear and are broken. Being shorter it takes less time for the entire pipe to heat up and burn lips. With less money a person might be tempted to haul on the pipe longer not wanting to waste any, again heating the pipe and burning lips. So open sores on the lips and the same pipe being passed around and you have the potential to pass on disease. The rubber tube is a very good tool to avoid burning and is also something that someone can hang onto and carry with the to attach if they borrow a pipe.

    At any rate, after all the good that InSite has done despite feverish opposition from so many...everyone it seems from the Prime Minister to their neighbours. They have fought the good fight with courage and integrity, so at this point even if I disgreed with something they were doing they would still have my support. I trust that they will do the right thing and if I disagree it is likely ignorance on my part.
    If nothing else they provide support to people who are truly suffering and show respect to people who have lost respect for themselves.
    The Conservatives are not only on the wrong side of the fight with this organization but have taken on the cowardly role of the bully. They are stubborn pig headed fools for continuing their fight to close InSite.
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