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.