Canadian Health Officials Keeping People Healthy…by Handing Out Crack Pipes

Canadian health officials are keeping people healthy, one crack pipe at a time.

That’s right, Vancouver Coastal Health is reportedly set to roll out a pilot project come October that will see healthcare workers hand out crack-kits to welcome participants. Each “kit” will reportedly contain a clean, unused crack-pipe, mouthpiece, filter and above all, condoms. And all at the modest cost of between $50,000 and $60,000.

What’s more, Vancouver is just next in line after several cities, including Calgary and Winnipeg, that have a system of distributing crack-pipes to drug users.  The goal is, according to health officials, is to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C, among other illnesses.

But, according to one health official, participants of the pilot will have to act fast, while “supplies” last.

“We know there’s a demand and chances are what we’re going to be able to supply won’t last very long,” said Dr. Reka Gustafson, an official with Vancouver Coastal Health. The program is set to run for six months to one year.

According to the Vancouver Sun:

The intent is to connect health care workers with crack cocaine smokers to evaluate how many of the drug users are in the city and what equipment they need to lower their risk of catching diseases such as hepatitis C, HIV and even respiratory illnesses.

“There’s been a shift to crack cocaine smoking and we want to make sure the services we provide are the services they need … if we’re providing syringes and what we need are pipes, we’re not serving them,” Gustafson said.

Health officials already provide mouthpieces for crack pipes but not the pipe themselves. This means many drug users are sharing the glass pipes, which may be old or chipped, and are at risk of contracting a disease, such as hepatitis C, from cuts on their mouths, or respiratory illness or pneumonia from inhaling crumbling filters or the crack directly into their lungs.

“It’s just understanding and knowing the health consequences of crack cocaine smoking,” Gustafson said.

“Mouth pieces alone are not enough. Health consequences don’t just come from the mouth piece; they come from unsafe pipes.

The pilot targets Vancouver’s rising crack cocaine smokers, which already number about 15,000 in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside alone. The project was reportedly initiated due to an increased demand for crack smoking supplies in the area.

But we can all breathe a sigh of relief, as the kits apparently only contain the mouth pieces and push sticks used to clean the filters, and not the drugs themselves.