Published February 10, 2014
In an attempt to prevent the spread of disease, a Canadian non-profit installed the country’s first-ever crack pipe vending machines in Vancouver, CTV reported.
With the vending machines, drug users can purchase as many Pyrex crack pipes as they need for $0.25 each – a measure experts hope will curb rates of diseases spread by shared drug paraphernalia.
The two vending machines were installed by the non-profit Portland Hotel Society's Drug Users Resource Center (DURC) in Vancouver's Washington Market.
“Various studies show a correlation between HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases with crack pipe use. People can have sores on their lips, and [get diseases] from cracked or broken pipes,” Mark Townsend, an addictions worker with the Portland Hotel Society, told FoxNews.com.
Townsend said that although PHS would rather crack users choose to detox or go to rehab, they also want to provide users with clean equipment, so they don't get sick or potentially die. The machines, which are covered in colorful polka dots, are meant to create a conversation about the positive benefits of harm reduction.
"A hepatitis C infection can cost [the health care system] anywhere from $200,000 to $1.4 million; that’s a lot of money a 25-cent crack pipe can mitigate," Townsend said.
While the Canadian federal government has resisted harm reduction methods like this one in the past, the vending machines were allowed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.