World's First Crack Pipe Vending Machine

Photo: CTV Vancouver

If you can't beat 'em, well ... supply 'em.

Portland Hotel Society, a non-profit organization that operate housing facilities for the homeless in Vancouver, Canada, tried to curb the spread of diseases amongst drug users and came up with a novel idea to discourage them from using bad crack pipes. They've installed two vending machines that dispense Pyrex crack pipes for just 25 cents each.

Photo: CTV Vancouver

"For us, this was about increasing access to safer inhalation supplies in the Downtown Eastside,” Kailin See of Portland Hotel Society's Drug Users Resource Centre told CTV Vancouver. The pipes are more durable and therefore less likely to chip and cut the drug user's mouth, thereby helping to stop the spread of communicable diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.

Needless to say, the vending machines were controversial. Canada's Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney disagreed with the initiative, saying that while he supports treatment to end drug use, it should include limiting access to drug paraphernalia rather than providing greater access.

In this article over at CTV Vancouver, See countered:

"This is one piece of the larger puzzle," See said. "You have to have treatment, you have to have detox, you have to have safe spaces to use your drug of choice, and you have to have safe and clean supplies."

She pointed out while the pipes cost $0.25, every new case of HIV or hepatitis could cost taxpayers up to $250,000 in medical treatment.

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