Canada is coping with crack cocaine (search) use in a uniquely Canadian way of doing things. Some folks in Vancouver have demanded that the government fund crack houses.

Perhaps I should repeat that: Health Canada, the Canadian government’s health system, is being asked to open smoking rooms for crack addicts.

A Vancouver advocacy organization called The Rock Users Group claims that the crack houses are needed to make the streets safe for crack addicts. Says the leader of the group: “Right now, on the street, if you’re carrying a pipe and you’re not smoking it, you get roughed up by the police. That shouldn’t happen.”

The government-run crack houses would provide a safe place to toke up and would distribute little crack kits to crack addicts that would include a pipe, five brass screens, two new mouthpieces, condoms and printed material on "safe" smoking techniques.

Canada already funds places where heroin addicts can shoot up. One so-called "safe-injection site" received a grant of $1.5 million from Health Canada and another $3.2 million from the provincial government.

The thinking is, if it’s good enough for smack addicts, why not a safe house for crack addicts? Says heroin addict Dean Wilson, "I think we should give the same courtesy to people who smoke rock [cocaine] as we did with the safe injection site."

And that’s the Observer.

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