Got a quarter? Crack pipes offered in B.C. vending machines

A crack pipe is pictured in this QMI Agency photo illustration.

A crack pipe is pictured in this QMI Agency photo illustration.

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:50 PM ET

A Vancouver group that distributed thousands of crack pipes two years ago in a pilot program to protect addicts from overdoses and diseases has sparked controversy anew for installing crack-pipe vending machines in the city.

The machines spit out a crack pipe for a quarter.

The Portland Hotel Society, which operates the city's supervised injection site and manages several Downtown Eastside hotels, said the move will reduce the transmission of infectious diseases and allow users to work more closely with health professionals.

"For us, this was about increasing access to safer inhalation supplies in the Downtown Eastside,” Kailin See, director of the Society's Drug Users Resource Centre, told CTV Vancouver.

She said the pipes are very durable and less likely to chip and cut drug users' mouths, which helps stop the spread communicable diseases including HIV and hepatitis.

Federal Safety Minister Steven Blaney, however, said his government does not support the vending machines.

"Drug use damages the health of individuals and the safety of our communities. We believe law enforcement should enforce the law,” Blaney said in a statement e-mailed to QMI Agency.

“While the NDP and Liberals would prefer that doctors hand out heroin and needles to those suffering from addiction, this government supports treatment that ends drug use, including limiting access to drug paraphernalia by young people.”

 


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