A nonprofit organization has installed Canada’s first-ever crack pipe vending machines in Vancouver in an effort to curb the spread of disease, according to Canada's CTV News.
The machines dispense Pyrex crack pipes in exchange for just 25 cents.
“For us, this was about increasing access to safer inahalation supplies in the Downtown Eastside,” Kailin See, director of the Drug Users Resource Centre, told CTV.
While crack pipes have been dispensed by hand in the area, the rule of thumb has been one pipe per person per day, See noted. But vending machines let addicts buy as many pipes as they need.
“They don’t run the risk of then sharing pipes, or pipes that are chipped or broken,” See told CTV. “Everything from flu, colds, cold sores, HIV: If you cut your lip on a pipe that someone else has been using, there are risks there.”
The machines are adorned with colorful polka dots, a move to make the crack pipe vending machines "not look like a scary or stigmatized thing," See told CTV. "This is a very important thing for the community and we thought we wanted to make it look really snazzy."
The crack pipe vending machines are part of an overall program known as "harm reduction."
“This is one piece of the larger puzzle,” See told CTV regarding the vending machines. “You have to have treatment, you have to have detox, you have to have safe spaces to use your drugs of choice and you have to have safe and clean supplies.”
Mariner Janes, a mobile needle exchange manager, said the response from the community has been positive.
“Through and through, the people that are using the machine and need the pipes are kind of in dire need of the supplies, and really it’s a health care kind of item,” he told CTV. “The pipes on the streets themselves can get very expensive, just because they’re kind of scarce.”
See said the machine at the drug users center typically sells out every week.
“I have had some people say to me, “Ah, only in Vancouver,” Janes told CTV. “I’d like to think that this is not the only place that this could happen. I’d like to see this idea go all over the place.”
The following report was produced by Vancouver's Nadim Roberts, a Vancouver-based independent journalist:
(H/T: The Gateway Pundit)