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Canadian Pilot Project Will Distribute Clean, Unused Crack Pipes to Drug Users


Health officials in Vancouver, Canada have announced a pilot project to distribute clean, unused crack pipes to drug users later this year, as part of a “harm reduction” program to reduce spread of disease. The program is also designed to increase interaction between drug users, health care workers and social workers, CBC News reports.

Currently, some crack users make their own pipes from bottles, cans or hollow car antennas, according to the news report. Many share pipes, increasing the risk of spreading disease. Vancouver now gives out clean mouth pieces for crack pipes, but does not distribute the pipes themselves.

CBC News reports that local health authorities in several other Canadian cities, including Calgary and Winnipeg, hand out crack pipes.

In April, a study found a government-sanctioned facility in Canada, that medically supervises the injection of illegal drugs, has reduced fatal overdoses. The facility, called Insite, provides clean needles to heroin and cocaine users, who inject themselves with their own drugs while they are supervised by a nurse. The study found that Insite reduced drug overdose deaths by 35 percent in a neighborhood that has one of Canada’s highest rates of drug addiction.

10 Responses to this article

  1. Carlos / August 6, 2011 at 11:11 am

    When will start reading and knowing what science is about and why some of these protocols get developed. We might just start finding out the purpose for why some of us thinking this is madness. We can all continue to make rubbish up, say that our education and license is sufficiency to call ourselves experts. That our educational intuition is infallible, and continues to be misinforming each other and our patients, I guess I going to get me some Neil deGrassy Tyson attitude. Scares me that we insist that we are treating patients we dignity and respect, while not knowing one iota of the science that would make us a lot more effective, instead of all this guessing. Think about it, when was it the last time you read one of those boring scientific articles, instead of Chicken Soup for the Soul or Women are from Georgia and Man are from Miami. Do we really know what science is about? Or are we so anti science that next time you go see the doctor for an infection we will refuse to take the best antibiotic available because we just do not understand it.

  2. Ed Moses / August 5, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Those of you that have actually been in a “shooting gallery” or in groups using drugs KNOW that an addict wants all the drug they can get and will use the dirty needle instead of a clean one to get all the drug they can. Don’t bother mentioning the exceptions, this is the rule of abuse. This is nothing more than helping kill people slower and a vehicle to help legalize drug abuse. Oh, and ask San Fran how many city workers go out each day to pick up dirty needles off the streets and playgrounds. Been there, saw that, know that. Undercover drug officer

  3. Avatar of Jason
    Jason / August 5, 2011 at 3:17 am

    O.k. I think there is some confusion. I smoked crack for many years and the average crack head is Not going to share their pipe. Way different from a needle, the pipe holds many future hits. I would’ve loved this program. Pipes break, cans suck and the power of enabling is awesome. Can’t get clean unless I want to. Smoke crack and get a free pipe when I want to too.. I wonder if they will loan you a $20 when you get your pipe. That may lower the rate of muggings and panhandling. If addicts aren’t allowed to get dirty why would they ever want to get clean?

  4. Avatar of James
    James / August 4, 2011 at 11:16 am

    This has got to be a joke? Next they will supply the crack with the pipes. Who stands to profit from this fiasco?

  5. Avatar of Rick Reimann
    Rick Reimann / August 4, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Are they serious, wouldn’t monies be better spent on therapy and rehabs to prevent. Sounds like another case of enableing. Recovery comes through change and support, not being supplied. I am very involved in the service of recovery and would love to see accountability and some help teaching addicts some life skills instead another avenue to continue the same habits.

  6. Marco / August 4, 2011 at 12:19 am


  7. Avatar of James
    James / August 3, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Great idea. Now if they can just give them a well lit, dry place they won’t catch cold while using their drugs.

  8. John French / August 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    The rationale behind dispensing “clean” hypodermic needles is obvious. Dirty needles transport raw blood, and with it, infection. The case for crack pipes is weaker. There is no solid evidence that they carry STDs including HEPC and HIV, at anywhere near the dangerous rate of needles. And substitutes are remarkably easier to produce — a simple soda can becomes a crack pipe in seconds. There is, however, the benefit of showing the addict that others are concerned about his well-being. This alone might have a salubrious effect.

  9. john / August 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Canada has always been a big proponent of Harm Reduction and HIV and Hep C numbers have continued to rise along with their drug use numbers. Stupid ideas don’t only come from California.

  10. Sandra, Vancouver, Canada / August 6, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    In Vancouver, we’d rather keep the addicts alive today, to get into treatment tomorrow. Addiction and drug use, and petty street dealing, are not prosecuted in Canada. One thing about InSite, the safe injection facility that’s not usually written about, is that there’s detox and treatment beds on the next floor up, with reserved space for InSite clients.

    Giving out crack pipes may not prevent many diseases, but sounds healthier than some things people smoke out of; and workers will be able to build relationships with people and then keep track of them, refer them to medical care, social services, and treatment. By the way, it’s considered socially unacceptable among the IV drug users here to throw out any of your “rig” including the needle in an unsafe way. There are lots of places to exchange needles and syringes.

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