Vancouver is known for being on the forefront when it comes to harm-reduction. More than ten years ago, we introduced North America’s first safe injection site with the opening of InSite.
We’re leading the way once more with a different aspect of harm-reduction now that Vancouver is the first in Canada to have crack pipe vending machines.
Two vending machines selling crack pipes have been installed in the facilities of the Downtown Eastside’s Portland Hotel Society. According to Nadim Roberts, the pipes can run for as much as $10 on the streets but at the Portland’s vending machines they cost only 25 cents and it also comes with the guarantee that they are safe to use and have never been used before.
The affordable availability of clean crack pipes to the neighbourhood’s drug addicts will prevent the spread of diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV – both of which can be spread by sharing crack pipes.
The machines are an initiative by the non-profit Portland Hotel Society’s Drug Users Resource Centre, which provides support to people with addiction and mental health issues, and have been operational for six months.
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