Tag Archives: Reka Gustafson

Vancouver, BC handing out free crack pipes and drug needles

Map of Canada
Map of Canada

From the Vancouver Sun. (H/T The Michael Medved Show)

Excerpt:

Vancouver health officials will distribute new crack pipes to drug users this fall as part of a pilot project aimed at reducing the transmission of diseases such as hepatitis C.

The program, part of Vancouver’s harm-reduction strategy, is expected to start in October and run for six months to a year, said Dr. Reka Gustafson, a medical health officer with the Vancouver Coastal Health authority.

[…]While heroin users can get clean needles from needle-exchange programs or the city’s safe-injection site, new pipes aren’t as easily accessible.

Across Canada, only a handful of cities, including Calgary and Winnipeg, hand out crack pipes.

A kit with a clean, unused pipe, mouthpiece, filter and condoms will be handed out to the participants, Gustafson said. It’s not known at this time how many drug users will take part in the pilot, which will have an estimated cost of between $50,000 and $60,000.

[…]Transmission rates for disease, particularly for hepatitis C, continue to rise in Vancouver. About 60 per cent to 80 per cent of drug users in Vancouver have the disease or are at risk of getting it, said B.C. medical health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

“There’s good reason that hepatitis C and HIV can be transmitted on the mouth piece of pipes. It’s not as clear as with needle-sharing but it’s pretty persuasive,” Kendall said. “This pilot will tell us if we should be doing more.”

I can’t believe that this is happening in conservative cities like CALGARY, ALBERTA. It’s craziness. When you lower the cost barrier and risks of drug use, you get MORE drug use, not less. Lowering the cost of any choice or behavior will, all other factors being equal, create more of that choice or behavior.